What we do at Highlands Hope Umbrella
Highlands Hope Umbrella is an organization that brings together community, professional, and volunteer networks to address the the challenge of HIV-AIDS and related social problems like the situation of orphans and vulnerable children in the Njombe region of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Its member groups include community-based peer health educator groups, a professional women’s association focused on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, and a youth choir and drama team that builds awareness of HIV among young people in the area.
These individuals and organizations have been responding to the challenge of the HIV pandemic for a decade within the limitations of their rural Tanzanian setting and resources. Their response has always been characterized by a clear focus on meeting the needs of their patients and their families, on maximizing effective and efficient use of limited health care resources and on providing the highest quality of care and information services.
More recently, they have begun rigorous investigation of the health and social impacts of HIV in collaboration with the McGill University School of Nursing. Highlands Hope Umbrella has demonstrated that it can create a virtuous circle of care, research, and advocacy that has allowed the organization to make great strides forward in the quality of HIV awareness and and care services with very modest resources.
HIV-AIDS is an enormous problem in their part of Africa, with an estimated prevalence of 18-20% prevalence in the adult population of Njombe and Makete Districts. Thousands of children are already orphaned by the disease in the area. But Highlands Hope Umbrella is demonstrating that community spirit, volunteerism and innovative approaches to education and care can make an important difference.
The Mission of Highlands Hope Umbrella
Highlands Hope Umbrella organizations follow the protocols and support the priorities of Tanzania’s National Aids Control Program (NACP) for patient care in rural settings, though with very limited local resources.
Nevertheless, the efforts of HIghlands Hope Umbrella organizations have touched thousands; they are leaders in the struggle for recognition that access to basic health care (including access to health information and to basic social services for patients and for vulnerable children) is a human right.
Highlands Hope of Tanzania works in partnership with local Njombe and Makete communities to support health care that takes into consideration physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual and social well being.
Highlands Hope members have taken as their mission to improve the quality of life of people infected and affected with HIV and AIDS in Njombe and Makete by a focus on mutual support, professional development, research and knowledge development, and solidarity with the people that they serve.