St Francis Health Care Services is a non-governmental full service medical center and HIV/AIDS service organization. Locally founded and operated, this grassroots organization works to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS at every level – from prevention to treatment to helping loved ones in the event of loss; from anti-natal care to youth to grandparents; and from medical to social to economic impacts.
St. Francis Health Care Service was started in 1998 by Faustine Ngarambe (a former CSC novitiate), Ann Guloba (an HIV positive activist), Ruth Nabirye (a nurse), and 2 counselors, all local Ugandans. Ann Guloba died 2 years later. This beginning was made possible by a donation of £10,000 from Mercury Phoenix Trust, a British Charity founded by pop-star “Mercury” who died of AIDS in the early nineties. In the beginning St. Francis served HIV-infected individuals in 2 districts near Jinja , Uganda with the following efforts:
- Provide quality medical treatment and psycho-social support through a home based care program
- Provide counseling to both the infected and affected.
- Address stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS at the community level.
- Address gender inequalities related to HIV/AIDS such as widow inheritance, vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS, early teenage marriages of the girl child.
- Promote HIV/AIDS prevention programs at community level
- Address the Orphans and Vulnerable Children crisis through, education support, i.e. vocational training of OVC’s, income generating activities and providing mentorship to youth through “Shadow Idol” Program
- Sensitize the communities about the consequences of the relatives who grab widows and orphans property when the male parents die.
Since then we have grown tremendously. We currently have 38 fulltime staff, 175 volunteers, and 8 board members. Board members include two people living with HIV and members are elected by the annual assembly for a three-year term. Please visit our Staff page for a complete list of staff.
We regularly provide services for clients in seven districts (Buikwe, Jinja, Mukono, Kayunga, Mayuge, Kamuli and Kaliro) with a total population of over 2.5 million people. Due to our reputation, some patients come from as far away as Bugiri, Iganga, Mayuge, and even other districts in the eastern Uganda.
St Francis Soroti Branch. Due to the increasing need and the gap in HIV/AIDS and SRHR service delivery in eastern Uganda, St. Francis Health Care Services saw it necessary to expand its services to cover four Sub- Counties of Soroti District namely Gweri, Katine, Tibur and Arapai with a population of over 66,000 people.
Funding for St. Francis Health Care Services has come from numerous donors over the years including: Mercury Phoenix Trust, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Development Cooperation Ireland (Irish Aid), Firelight Foundation USA , US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Stephen Lewis Foundation (Canada), Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Hope for Children Initiative, Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU),United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Council on Management of Populations Programmes (ICOMP), Programme for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE), Global Strategies for HIV Prevention, Children of Grace, and Friends of Reach Out Africa (FORO). Programs and services offered at St. Francis include: Medical Care, Awareness and Sensitization, Voluntary Counseling and Testing, Support for Grannies (including income generating activities), Shadow Idol Club (mentoring), and Omwana House (child rehabilitation).