Medical Services at St. Francis include
- Clinical Care and Home Based Care
- Counseling and Education
- Public Health and Outreach
- Maternal Child Health Program
Clinical Care: clinical care is offered 7-days a week to both HIV positive and negative persons in the community. For HIV positive persons most of the clinical, laboratory and drug dispensing is offered free of charge as long as one is registered with institution (which includes an initial registration fee). The lab offers a full range of services including a CD4 cell counts for monitoring the efficacy of anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Community members, pay a nominal fee for all the services except those funded by the government. In addition, St. Francis Health Care Services is a tuberculosis (TB) treatment center. Clients are monitored while on direct observed treatment (DOT’s) for effective disease management. The organization believes in privacy and all information generated, including tests results are handled confidentially.
Since the opening of the maternity ward, medical staff are on call 24 hours a day to respond to urgent medical issues. This also gives us the potential to provide overnight treatment.
Home based care: this is offered to all willing HIV positive clients registered with St. Francis. It’s also offered to elderly women and men (also known as the Jjajjas). The program runs 6 days a week with a route plan per day. The home care team consists of a clinician, nurse, counselor and driver. They carry with them a box of standard medications and basic health care materials to offer the service free to the respective recipients.
Drug distribution: this is done for the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) program for clients who come from very distant places. They assemble in their communities once and receive the drugs and offer blood samples for annual and bi-annual checkups. The team that does drug distribution goes to the field weekly on Fridays.
Adherence monitoring and data management: this is done collectively by all staff at the health facility. There is both an electronic and paper based adherence monitoring system. The adherence monitoring is done basing on the national healthy policy. This electronic management of adherence is still in its infancy and a lot of work is still to be done.
Health education: this is done twice a week both at the drug distribution points and at the health facility. The health talks are arranged by counselors who deliver various topics ranging from sexual health, disclosure, to income generation and will-making. In most cases, both health workers and peer educators are employed in delivering the health talks. St. Francis Health Care Services provides voluntary counselling and testing services to the public.
Individual counseling: Counselors are available 7 days a week to meet with clients. Counselors aim at empowering the public towards discovering their sero status, and assisting those who are diagnosed with HIV transition to positive living. All clients must go through a counseling session before being tested for HIV and receive their results from the counselor. This testing is mandatory for pregnant women. In all these cases HIV testing is free of charge.
Public Health – HIV Prevention
St. Francis Health Care Services with its set mission and objectives continues to provide information, education to the communities and individuals through counselling and awareness campaigns
Community Outreach: Regular trips to surrounding communities and villages focus on Awareness and Sensitization programming and include voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Through this programming St. Francis seeks to encourage strategic thinking, planning and behaviour change as well as spread accurate information regarding HIV prevention and treatment. The VCT includes HIV/AIDS testing, counselling and management of all sexually transmitted infections including syphilis, gonorrhoea. Drama teams of PHAs (people living with HIV/AIDS) are employed to take part in the sensitization drives.
Home-to-home testing: this is done in partnership with the community health volunteers. They carry out the community mobilization in the community offering some form of pretest counseling. They then compile a list of people willing to test and inform the Counselor -mobilizer who then schedules an appointment with a lab technician to go and test. They then team up with the community health volunteer and go door to door, screening the willing and prepared clients.
Schools and corporate health education and testing: this is done as a team effort consisting of many counselors (about 5) together with a lab technician. The mobilizer makes an appointment with the institution, then arranges the team. They have a health talk prior and during the voluntary and counseling sessions offering focus group discussion fora, feed back questions and comments from listeners.
Maternal Child Health Program
At St Francis, we realize it’s the right time to prioritize joining the road map to accelerate reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and the National Child Survival Strategy. St Francis Health care services, believes that systematic improvement of health services for pregnant women can save lives effectively in our rural settings. Since a majority of maternal deaths occur during and soon after delivery, that’s why many of our interventions have concentrated on Pre, ante-, and post-natal period as well as prevention of mother to child transition (PMTCT).
The maternal and child health program started at St Francis in 2006 after realizing a huge gap that was existing in the PMTCT and the continuum of care for the maternal, new born and child care within our communities. We set up a five day per week schedule (both at the facility and in the communities) to provide services in antenatal care, postnatal care, early infant diagnosis, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. These efforts have saved the lives of many mothers and children. With the maternity ward under completion we now have a complete PMTCT program at the center and have medical staff on call 24 hours a day.