The AIDS  Support Organisation (TASO)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
     
TASO Silver Jubilee, 1987-2012. Celebrating 25 years of Positive Living: The Foundation of HIV Prevention, Care and Support
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Services and Programs

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TASO's core programs include; HIV/AIDS counseling, Medical care, Social support, Training and Capacity Building, Community mobilization, partnerships and HIV education, Advocacy and networking. The latest addition is Research through partnerships. 

  1. HIV/AIDS Counselling

Counseling is the oldest service offered by TASO and is the basis upon which the organization was founded.   TASO provides psychosocial support in pretest, post test, prevention, and supportive aspects of HIV/AIDS counseling. This service is effective in providing accurate information about HIV/AIDS, STDs, treatment, Family Planning, human rights, appropriate referral Services centers as well as enhancing living positively with HIV/ AIDS. It also promotes prevention of further spread of HIV.  Counseling in TASO is accessed by individuals, couples, children and family members of index clients.  Counseling takes place at all the TASO established service centers, outreach clinics, homes of clients and at hospitals where TASO provides support.   Each client in TASO is attached to a counselor and there is a lot of mutual trust between the two where principles of different levels of confidentiality are observed. Counseling is always extended to the members of the clients' family in order to promote acceptance of care of people with HIV/AIDS and encouragement to those who may still be in fear of finding out their HIV Sero-status. It also becomes very helpful during bereavement.

  1. Medical Care

The medical care provided to TASO clients focuses on prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections. Systems have been put in place to manage opportunistic infections. This includes a highly trained and experienced medical staff, laboratory investigations and a well stocked pharmacy. All drugs are provided free of charge including Anti- Retro viral drugs for those who are legible.  Septrine prophylaxis and safe water vessel are provided to clients in order to reduce occurrences of some opportunistic infections. Particular emphasis is put on early detection and treatment of tuberculosis and STDs.  Regarding the Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) program a lot is done to ensure that adherence to treatment is observed. Close collaboration and sharing of information with other ART providers is key in avoiding duplication of this service. Alternative therapy in form of Aromatherapy and reflexology has proved to be beneficial to all who have received it. Many clients with poor skin conditions, pain, anxiety and depression have been relieved using this alternative therapy.

  • This is provided to bedridden clients where necessary. During home visits relatives/home caregivers are provided with information by TASO trained community Volunteer nurses or TASO staff. The home caregivers have adequate basic knowledge to be able to provide Home Nursing and emergency care. The AIDS Community workers (ACWs) also trained by TASO offer support to home-caregivers by providing simple nursing care and first aid and referrals to bedridden clients.
  • Outreach Clinics:  TASO centers run community out-reach clinics at selected sites, once in a month to support clients who cannot afford to travel to the centers. This together with the system of appointments for clients has resulted to reduction of the number of clients seen at the centers every day.
  • Day Care Center:  A day care center in TASO is a place for sharing experiences, giving and getting information, emotional support, spiritual support, skills building and general relaxation. Entertainment is provided through watching Television, listening to soft music on radio, listening to educative HIV programs, and watching skits and plays by Clients' drama groups. Clients are free to join drama groups with recommendation of their counselors. Some clients chose to learn certain skills such as tailoring, crafts making, weaving and many others either from colleagues or from a skills trainer provided by TASO. This helps them to generate some income.

Out of the day center interaction, clients such as the Drama Group, Mamas club and Positive men's Union have emerged. These groups of people Living with AIDS are involved in various activities including promotion of positive prevention, mobilization of other people living with HIV/AIDS for GIPA/MIPA and sharing of useful information for developing coping mechanisms. 

  1. Social Support

TASO clients have continuously confided in their counselors that some of their biggest challenges are their children's school fees and nutritional support especially with the advent of Anti-retroviral Therapy. They (clients) have clearly expressed themselves that if somebody took care of those challenges, a very heavy load would be lifted off their shoulders. TASO's Social Support Programme therefore comprises of services that seek to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on clients in the areas of child support, Sustainable Livelihoods, Nutritional support and some other discrete projects.

  1. Nutritional Support

It is now common knowledge in HIV/AIDS Management that proper nutrition is very critical in maintaining and replenishing the immunity of PLHIV.   After the contract between TASO and ACDI/VOCA ended, TASO took on the Sustainable Livelihoods Strategy aimed at empowering its clients to engage themselves in Income Generating Activities so as to improve their livelihood and nutrition. Clients were trained to shift towards Strategic food security activities and sustainable Livelihoods. Currently the Multi – Year Assistance Programme (MYAP) is winding down. It was a partnership between TASO and ACDI/VOCA to provide food support to 7000 TASO registered clients in the Centers of Gulu, Soroti, as well as Kaberamaido Mini TASO.

  1. Advocacy and Networking

TASO views HIV/AIDS as a multi-pronged problem that calls for concerted effort from all sectors of life. Through advocacy at local, national and international levels, TASO increases awareness on various HIV/AIDS issues and influences the attitudes of all those in high positions in society.   As a result they contribute positively towards the well being of the infected and affected, and they keep the negative effects of the epidemic, such as stigmatization to a minimum.   TASO's advocacy aims at sensitizing people with AIDS and society as a whole to understand the rights and responsibilities of the infected. This is done through:

  • Lobbying
  • Collaboration with especially government structures, developmental and AIDS service NGOs, as well as Community Based Organizations that have similar interests.
  • Meetings, seminars, conferences at national and international level.
  • Workshops, program exchanges, consultations and provision of technical support.
  • Commemoration of Candle light, World AIDS Day and other Important Days.
  • Periodic Publications and Media Releases.
  • Public relations with policy makers and influential national and community leaders.
  • Support to community response and mobilization.
  • Mobilization of TASO Membership
  • Convening of Annual General Meetings
  • Networking and Collaboration: TASO is a member of the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organizations (UNASO). Under this network, it has been possible for many member organizations to share experience and resources. Young NGOs and CBOs are supported to build their capacity and be able to scale up their services to reach more people.   The advocacy voice on various issues has improved because the Network Secretariat is recognized and represents the views of all the member organizations at important levels. TASO is also a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional AIDS Training Network (RATN) that has highly promoted the standards and scope of HIV/AIDS training in the region.
  1. TASO Training and Capacity Development Function

TASO builds the capacity of individuals, NGOs, CBOs and institutions in AIDS Care and support services. The training courses that TASO offers include counseling, Medical and Community care.  TASO has an established Training and Capacity Development Directorate that operates through two arms:

  • A Training center of excellence with outreach services at regional level (Eastern, Western, Northern and Central regions of TASO).
  • TASO Experiential Attachment to Combat HIV/AIDS (TEACH), which provides opportunities for trainees from other parts of Africa to be attached to TASO Centers for Orientation in AIDS Care, support and Prevention Services.
  1. Research

TASO is involved in a number of research projects all with the aim to increase HIV preventions services. It has so far partnered with the Medical Research Council, University of Washington, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Canadian African Prevention Trials Network.


TASO Research requirements:

The AIDS Support organization (TASO) is a non-governmental organization with a mission to contribute to process of HIV prevention, restoring hope and improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. It provides care to over 90,000 PLHIV through out the country. 

In the 5 year strategic plan of TASO (TSP 2008-2012 goal 4); one of the strategic choices of TASO is to contribute to the process of informing and influencing the National HIV response through promoting and conducting Operational Research. TASO has been involved in research partnership with investigators within and outside the country, organization, higher institutes of learning and students.

TASO's Institutional Review Committee (IRC) was accredited by Uganda National Council of Science and Technology in August 2011. The TASO IRC is headed by a Chairperson and has over 10 members and an Administrator, who does the the day to day running of the IRC. The TASO IRC is privileged to partner and work with support from EDCTP.

Categories of research reviewed by TASO IRC involve: 

  • TASO operational Research
  • Academic Research
  • Collaborative Research
  • Independent  (consultants)

Requirements for applying for review of protocol by TASO IRC are as follows:

  • Complete Research Proposal (with budget and Questionnaires)
  • Consent documents (both English and language in which it will be administered)
  • Application letter for review of proposal
  • Introduction letter from institution/Affiliation
  • CVs of Principal Investigators
  • Certificate of Competence in research ethics (for international investigators)

Research application fee:

Researchers

Ugandans

East Africans

International

Undergraduates

Ushs 20,000

$ 20

$ 50

Masters

$ 100

$ 150

$ 300

PhD

$ 500

$ 500

$ 500

Independent

$ 150

$ 200

$ 300

Expedited review

Initial fee +20% of initial fee

Revisions and amendments

60% of the initial fee

Annual review

Initial fee + 50% of initial fee

Collaborative

15%  of the research budget

NB:  The TASO IRC sits once a month, it is therefore important   that you submit your proposals early enough for Review.

Contacts: 

Dr. Michael B. Etukoit

Chairperson TASO IRC

TASO Headquarters, Mulago

P.O. BOX 10443, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256757774116

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mr. Celestine Bakanda

Vice Chairperson TASO IRC

TASO Headquarters, Mulago

P.O. BOX 10443, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256757774178

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mr. Mijumbi Andrew Ojok

IRC Administrator

TASO Headquarters, Mulago

P.O. BOX 10443, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256785037496

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

TASO service Centers: Entebbe,  Jinja,   Masaka ,  Mbale,   Mbarara ,  Mulago,   Gulu,   Rukungiri,   Soroti   and Tororo