TASO Mbale was established in March 1990, in a small room that was part of the TB Ward of Mbale Regional Hospital. Mrs. Mary Mwiri and Dr. Florence Ebanyati, both of whom had come face-to-face with HIV/AIDS at family level and at work place spear headed the founding of this center. Mrs. Mwiri, who was later to become the first center manager of TASO Mbale, mobilized a few other volunteers including Mr. Watuwa Stephen, Mr. Namunga Davies and Mr. Magawa John, got support from TASO Headquarters to start the center.
From that time up to 1993, counseling of people with HIV/AIDS was done under a mango tree because there was no office room. In 1993 the first TASO Mbale DANIDA-funded building was put up on Pallisa Road within Mbale Regional Hospital premises. When office space continued to be a challenge due to increasing number of clients and staff, the new storied building was constructed next to the old one and commissioned in December 2004.
Like all the other TASO centers, TASO Mbale provides two kinds of programme services: Direct and Indirect. Direct services include; counseling, medical care, material support, and child support. Indirect services include; Support supervision to CBO’s Advocacy and networking on HIV/AIDS issues, and Mobilization and training of community volunteers for capacity building and collaboration.
TASO Mbale now serves the districts of Mbale, Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Pallisa, Budaka, Butaleja, Bukedea, Budadiri, Kumi, Butaleja and Kapchorwa. The center runs two general clinics (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and one ART clinic (Mondays) every week. There are also seven outreach clinics per month at the sites of Bududa, Bukedea, Magale, Budadiri, Muyembe, Buseta, and Iki-Iki. The outreach clinics are conducted every Wednesdays and Fridays. All the outreaches are run within the government health units' premises.
Of recent the centre has allocated every last Wednesday of every month as a PMTCT clinic for all mothers under the program.
In the same development due to increased demand from clients, the centre introduced the Long Time Family Planning Methods late last year in which over 14 mothers received the implants.
As of now all the staffs (counselors and medical) are being trained by TASO in conjunction with Engender Health in long term family planning.
To date, TASO Mbale has intervened in fifteen communities in which it has trained volunteers to support TASO in extending its services nearer to the people. The communities are Buwagogo, Bumbobi, Bungwanyi, Malera, Bukedea, Bukigai, Iki-iki, Buseta, Bulambuli, Bumalimba, Bunefule, Bunambale, Busiu, Kapisa and Butebo.
By the end of 2009, the center had registered a cumulative number of 22500 clients. On average, the center receives 200 new clients per month, conducted 7,434 counseling sessions and 37,313 medical sessions in the year 2009. The center has total of 3893 cumulative number clients on ART of which 3171 are active.
The current staffing levels in TASO Mbale is shown in the table below
|Medical (part timers)||01||01||02|
Collaboration with other agencies
There has been effective networking with government bodies and other sister organizations. Our networking partners include: - AIDS Information Centre (AIC), Uganda Women Concern Ministry (UWCM), CURE (Crippled Children's Rehabilitation Effort), District Offices, ACET (AIDS Care Education and Training), CCF, CCP, Mbale Regional Hospital, Compassion International, Farm Africa, HPI, FADEPU and Learning Institutions.
TASO Mbale runs a radio program on Open Gate Radio every Sunday from 8:00pm to 9:00pm and the topics discussed are HIV/AIDS related.
This is a component that addresses the social/economic impact on clients' families. Its activities include:
- Identifying and supporting needy orphans in form of school fees and scholastic materials.
- Providing apprenticeship skills to needy orphans, school dropouts and HIV positive children.
- Follow-up school visits
- Following home visits
- AIDS Education to youth
- Limited I.G.A grants to clients
- Memory book writing for guardians, orphans and clients
- Basic counseling skills to guardians and teachers
- Child rights
- Stress management for care and careers
- Supporting AIDS Challenge Youth Clubs (ACYC) in schools and communities.
- Under this, plans are in the final stages of giving clients heifers, goats and pigs to empower them economically.
Some of the challenges faced include; the increasing number of clients that is threatening to affect the quality of services delivered, inadequate space at outreach clinics that compromises confidentiality, inadequate motivation for the trained community volunteers, high demand for nutritional support, IGA, educational support, and the stress full nature of the work.
Ms Madhina Nakasi
Centre Manager, TASO Mbale
Mbale Regional Hospital
P.o Box 2250, Mbale