Doctors Without BordersWritten by Joanne
Arua, a town in the West Nile region of Uganda is an area where consistent access to healthcare was lacking after years of civil strife and instability. Because of its geographic isolation most people live on subsistance farming or migrant work. I am a Clinical Health Psychologist that decided to take a year long leave from my university city hospital practise in Montreal Canada in order to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres). In 2011 I managed, supervised and trained hospital staff in Arua to respond to the mental and emotional health needs of a large cohort of patients living with HIV and/or TB. From issues of mortality, morbidity, nutrition, bearing healthy children, family/community support, prevention, fighting stigma and long term healthcacare management, MSF continues to work hard to provide quality care in this 10yr project. I also trained volunteers made up of "expert patient groups" to form a core part of the patient education and prevention program that is growing and benefitting patients, families, and youth.