About Health Nest Uganda (HENU)
Health Nest Uganda – (HENU) is an indigenous Non Profit Making Organization based in Entebbe. It was started in 2007 and registered by the government of Uganda in 2009. The Organization recognizes and respects people’s abilities, promotes their dignity, their independence, and their equal place in society. We reach out to vulnerable groups like older persons, their families and communities. Many of the vulnerable older persons are poor and yet are caretakers of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), other older persons are isolated and neglected. We do provide to them social, emotional support and the tools to enhance their well being by harnessing their inherent skills.
Health Nest Uganda was recognized by Cordaid as one of the top 12 nominees out of 92 participating Organizations for 2012 Cordaid HIV and AIDS Award in the area of Community capacity building 2012-cordaid-hiv-and-aids-award. HENU was also awarded the first prize for the Jack Watters Memorial for Strengthening Responsiveness to Older People’s Issues and Concerns in Uganda: an Innovative Approach
Health Nest Uganda- HENU is also an affiliate to HelpAge international which takes a leading role world wide in the health and welfare of older persons and HENU is proud of this association. HENU also recognizes the need for partnerships to be able to cooperate and achieve the best for our forgotten parents in and grand parents. In this spirit of building partnerships HENU works with the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and local authorities all across Uganda. HENU is also represented and actively participates on the Uganda National council for Older Persons in Uganda and the National network for Older Persons in Uganda. HENU is also a member of the Easy Care Foundation UK, the Constellation and the Community Life Competence.
Services offered by HENU
OLDER PERSONS SUPPORT
OVCs Support. HENU works with older persons groups to build inherent strengths that allow communities to be able to live healthy and active lives. In doing this HENU offers support to orphans and other vulnerable children under the care of older persons in the form of school fees for those in private schools, and scholastic materials for those in government aided schools. This is, however, not a permanent situation because of the financial limitation and the fear of causing dependence therefore older persons are also trained on issues like income generating activities that enable them to continue providing for those under their care.The number of children supported under this program is small because of limited funds.
Using a unique approach called Community Life Competence Process; HENU helps the community including older persons to realize its strengths to respond to their concerns. This is an intergenerational approach that includes all community members. We run a unique training service for the older persons and their carers in age specific Income Generating Activities [IGAs] tailored to their needs. Through this approach, a number of older persons have realized that they can still make a positive contribution to themselves and the community they live in.
Advocacy. The Organization advocates for the rights of older persons to take control of their lives, own property and access basic services and care. We do this through international forums like the Aging demands Action campaign, international day for older persons and Entebbe older people’s forum among others
- HIV/AIDS Counselors Course: This course considers the principals of HIV/ AIDS counseling. It is not only limited to HIV/AIDS issues but seeks to produce professional, empathic and skilled counselors in all fields that are able to manage any situation that requires counseling. These areas may include bereavement and loss, abuse (emotional, mental, physical, sexual), addiction (alcohol, drugs, exercise, gambling, shopping, work), anger management, depression and stress, painful illness, health issues, family issues, bullying, relationship issues and reproductive health, violence in intimate relationships among others . This program started in January 2008 and so far we have trained a total of 303 graduated students who are equipped to provide adequate support to manage clients’ concerns. During the course of each year, we plan to train 100 students, however this year we managed to register and train 55 students in the principles of HIV/AIDS Counseling, and many of these are carrying out their practicum in our collaborating institutions. Because the area we operate, Entebbe Sub District, is a small area with limited numbers we are unable to reach our targeted number for this training. In view of the ever increasing need for trained professionals in the field of counseling, we do plan to reach out to more of the external community and build the numbers and increase our contribution to the field of trained and professional counselors.
- First Aid Training Every year, many people are injured on the roads, at home, at the workplace and during leisure activities. Uganda has continued to suffer tremendously in terms of lives and property lost in accidents of different types, the highest occurring on Roads. Many eminent Ugandans’ lives have been lost on the high ways without help. The destruction of life and property resulting from the carnage on our roads is worrying and reached unacceptable levels. Uganda has a road fatality rate almost 11 times greater than the United Kingdom, with more than 20,000 accidents per year that lead to more than 2,000 deaths. In an effort to provide necessary life saving skills in our community HENU provides first aid training to schools, work places, the general public to be able to ensure that individuals can carry out basic procedures that can mean the difference between life and death. HENU works along with health providers and the police to provide professional skills to our general public.
- Fire fighting It is only through training community members on fire prevention and fighting that will minimise the risk of property destruction. HENU conducts this course in conjunction with Uganda Police and has so far trained 4 fire fighters. Many of these skills are provided by the Uganda police and HENU comes in to mobilize students and improve the safety measures of schools, homes, and businesses, in our community. .
Voluntary Counselling and Testing [VCT]. With a crisis as unprecedented as AIDS, we cannot afford to neglect any vital front. We must do whatever it takes to accelerate the pace of reaching out to our people and we must address the deeper-rooted factors that are driving the virus, including lack of awareness on the need to know one’s status, as well as issues of gender and income inequality. HENU in collaboration with other players in the community offers free Community Based Voluntary Counselling and Testing. We reach out to people in their own communities, environments, homes to test families and individuals for HIV. Many communities have benefited from this service and we have had constant call outs to provide outreach services in different communities to build knowledge about our HIV status. The main tenet to this practice is that “when you know, you can manage”, we counsel our clients on the advantages of knowing one’s status and building that confidence in the future no matter what one’s result is. This campaign has been most engendering and we have had an outpour of great response rates.
Other services offered during this exercise include health education, varied counseling services and condom distribution.We appreciate our partners like Ministry of Health who donated to us condoms, Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe Hospital, Tropical Clinic Entebbe and TASO Entebbe for donating testing Kits. and we look forward to further partnerships
HENU has a club called Peer Assist Club. This is a peer support group where the youth gather periodically to discuss issues concerning their lives. Peers talk to EA to stay safe and healthy through small, daily efforts like offering an encouraging word or listening when someone has had a rough day or when you notice changes in their behaviors that concern you. This group participated in CROWDOUT AIDS project conducted by UNAIDS to fight HIV among the youth.