SOME of the stories told about the burdens some families are
bearing as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, may sound hard to
believe. Despite the efforts of the Government and non
governmental organisations to support people living with
HIV/AIDS, the burden is still heavy.
One of the greatest challenges facing people living with HIV/AIDS
is discrimination and stigmatisation. This has been the case for
66-year-old Mego Rose Odongpiny who contracted HIV while
attending to her sick children.
A resident of Layibi A and B village in Pece Division, Gulu
Municipality, Odongpiny lost seven of her eight children to
HIV/AIDS. Her husband died of natural causes and she is now left
to care for her 14 orphaned grandchildren.
"As I attended to my children, I was advised by health workers to
test for HIV and was found positive. Since then, I have been
taking care of my grandchildren, seven of whom are infected with
There was no one to help me and our neighbours discriminated
against us," she says. Odongpiny sought help beyond her
neighbourhood, but even there her efforts were futile.
"I used to move to the offices of several NGOs working in Gulu
but all I returned home with were promises that were never
fulfiled. There was not a single follow-up on any of my requests
None of the organisations took the initiative," she says as tears
roll down her cheeks. It was not until Odongpiny approached
Health Alert Uganda (HAU) that she was able to find help.
She is now the beneficiary of a sh1.3m pit latrine from the
organisation which also provides medical care for her
The two-stance pit latrine was constructed with funds from Health
Alert Uganda, Gulu Youth Centre and Save the Children in Uganda.
It was recently handed over to Odongpiny at her home in Pece
Odongpiny says: "I am pleased with the contribution of the NGOs
because my children used to ease themselves in the bush. The
neighbours would stop the children from using their latrines
because they have HIV/AIDS."
The advocacy officer of HAU, Francis Obutu, said the NGOs were
fulfiling their social corporate responsibility by contributing
towards the wellbeing of Odongpiny and her family.
The Pece Division LC3 chairman, Geoffrey Otim, contributed
sh100,000 as capital for Odongpiny to set up a small business. He
said no one should be discriminated against for being