It's a wonderful way to end 2006 and an inspiring story of initiative and success.
In the region of Tanzania known to have one of the highest incidences of HIV-AIDS, the Highlands Hope hospitals and clinics are giving HIV monitoring and treatment services to more than 2,500 patients.
With the most minimal support from government and large international agencies (anti-retroviral drugs are provided by the Ministry of Health and are the only resources being received), the doctors and nurses at Consolata Hospital Ikonda, TANWAT Company Hospital and PIUMA-EAWM in Bulongwa have received and treated hundreds of new HIV patients in 2006. This is in spite of inaction, corruption and (in some cases) harrassment by local authorities.
In addition to counselling, testing and anti-retroviral therapy, the Highlands Hope clinics offer peer education, community outreach and basic home-care services.
Highlands Hope progress can be attributed to an approach that favors small, bilateral funding mechanisms, high degrees of volunteerism, a commitment to professionalism and better patient outcomes, and governance and accountability mechanisms that ensure that all money reaches target groups in an effective way.
The supporters of Consolata Hospital Ikonda, TANWAT Company Hospital and PIUMA-EAWM can be justifiably proud of how well their organizations are respondng to the scourge of HIV in Njombe and Makete Districts.