New Home in Bulongwa for PIUMA Programs and Services

PIUMA, the HIV+ patients' group in the Highlands Hope Consortium, is pleased to announce that it has negotiated a lease with the District Executive Director of Makete District for the use of the former HIMA project building in Bulongwa as a site for its clinical services.

The building is well situated in Bulongwa and was built with support from DANIDA, the development service of the Danish government, for a project that has since run its course.

PIUMA has applied to the Ministry of Health of Tanzania and the National AIDS Control Program for a license to manage an HIV Care and Treatment Centre (CTC) for the area. Currently, the only CTC that is readily accessible to people with HIV in the Bulongwa area is at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital. That clinic is plagued with difficulties, however, and patients report going months at a time without CD4 tests and other care necessities. The technology used by the CTC at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital is also incapable of providing proper care to pediatric cases.

PIUMA has demonstrated that by involving HIV+ people in their own care and in the management of the clinics that serve them, that investment in AIDS-related awareness, testing and care can be substantially leveraged. PIUMA is waiting for a visit by representatives of the NACP to review its application and to inspect the clinical facilities and technology that it has standing by for use by patients in dire need of adequate care. PIUMA is continuing with its programs of voluntary counselling and testing and advocacy and stands ready to offer CTC services as well if required.

PIUMA officials thank the office of the District Commissioner for its support in these negotiations and in the effort to bring quality HIV services to Makete District.

March 22, 2007.