The African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS) is a community-based organization in Nakaseke district, Uganda, which is dedicated to working with vulnerable groups in resource limited settings through medical care, education and economic empowerment. ACCESS cares for and supports people living with HIV-AIDS (PLWAs) together with orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC).
The base of operations is the ACCESS medical center (Nakaseke Lifecare Center, or NLC) which provides care for over 120 PLWAs through strategic alliances with centers providing antiretroviral drugs for the management of HIV. ACCESS receives over 12,000 patient visits per year from all over the district for management of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. The medical center has a doctor, clinical officers, nurses, a lab/equipment technician and health visitors. A mobile team consisting of a Doctor/or Clinical Officer, Nurse, Counselor or a Health visitor, conduct routine visits to provide medical care and support to its beneficiaries. They work hand in hand with the community volunteer network.
The organization has trained eighteen community volunteers from two of the seven sub-counties (81 rural villages) within the district who provide support for all the community activities. Thanks to their efforts, ACCESS has been able to test over 580 people for HIV-AIDS from the two sub-counties.
ACCESS has also partnered with Nakaseke District Hospital (a government hospital) to develop a one-year curriculum for training auxiliary community nurses. So far seventy-seven community nurses have graduated in the last six years and are currently working in over seven districts in Uganda providing care to thousands of Ugandans, mostly in rural communities.
With a grant from the Stephen Lewis Foundation, ACCESS (formerly NACODI) has supported 70 families of OVCs with income generation projects (IGA) in the form of cows, start-up capital, chicken rearing, crop gardens and pigs in addition to medical care and school support (school fees, books, uniforms, shoes and lunch fees). These small grants provide start up support for poverty eradication by providing a means of sustainable development. With a grant from Action Medeor, ACCESS has also been able to set up a dairy farm and an agricultural project to raise funds to support the initial operational costs for the organization.
In order to increase awareness and promote advocacy for vulnerable members of the community, ACCESS has six community support groups that work with the community volunteers. The groups conduct shows, drama productions, and sing songs that attract the community members to come and listen to messages on HIV prevention, care for PLWAS and OVCs, income generation and poverty eradication.
Our mission is to improve health outcomes and prevent the spread of common diseases in rural Africa by supporting people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans or vulnerable children, and advocating women’s empowerment and maternal health. We aim to provide treatment, education, and counseling to empower patients in our community to become advocates for their own health.