Why we focus on the elderly?
The World Health Organisation projects that by the year 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries. Sub-Saharan Africa contributes 5% (43 million) of the global elderly population and this percentage is expected to increase even higher by 2030.
In Uganda, the elderly constitutes 2.7% of the entire population and life expectancy has increased from 50 to 64 years for both sexes over the past ten years. The elderly constitutes the poorest members of the society in Uganda with 64% living below the poverty line, with lack of access to regular income and little to no benefit from social security services. More than 80% of the elderly live in rural and urban poor areas of Uganda and many live-in poor housings coupled with poor nutrition and a high risk of suffering from various preventable infectious and Non-communicable diseases. Traditionally, health care has been hard to access due to poor health service delivery in public facilities, various costly private for-profit hospital settings, and a lack of specialized services for the elderly. With the increasing numbers of the elderly, the demand for the healthcare services can only increase and the country will face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift. Accompanied health Initiatve is therefore not only a needed but a timely intervention to addressing both current and potential future gaps in meeting the healthcare needs for the elderly in Uganda and across Africa.
Our approach to meeting the healthcare needs of the elderly in Uganda
ACHI's model focuses on creating health equity and adding value to the quality of healthcare our elderly who are 55+ receive at their doorstep enables them to live a dignified and long life.
Currently, ACHI is focusing on these three projects to launch our operational model both in Kampala and in south western Uganda - Kiruhura district near 50 Km from Mbarara city.
1. We are creating our first network (group) of community-based health providers, comprised of Clinical Officers- COs ( Physician Assistants) and Community Health Fellows (CHFs)
2. The ACHI Family Health Fund - which are family health savings accounts (FHSA) - led by a responsible individual within the family to cater for the healthcare needs of the elderly in the household.
3. ACHI Community Clinics - where the COs and CHFs will be based to receive toll-free calls from the elderly and their caretakers to provide timely responses to their healthcare needs. In case of any of the elderly is in need of physical assessment and treatment, the COs and or CHFs will be dispatched to carry out home-based care. ACHI community clinics will also be points of day-care treament and appropriate referrals to our partner healthcare providers.
The story of our CEO and Co-founder, Dr. Daphine Namara
Daphine was born and raised in Southwestern Uganda to a cow-herding father and a stay home mother. Although her parents were not formally educated, they treasured the value of education and knew their daughter had unique abilities and set her to the closest government aided primary school 8km away from home. A 6th child of 9, at 7 years old Daphine braved the morning wet tall grasslands and ran 8km to school barefooted. She graduated the best in her class and in her county and received a scholarship to Bweranyangi Girls Secondary School, one of the few historical Anglican Missionary founded schools for girls in the country. Daphine appreciated the opportunity of saving her parents school fees and secondary education expenses. She worked the hardest and graduated the best in the district and was the only girl in the district that received admission to Makerere University School of Medicine in 2011.
While in 2nd year of medical school, she got the shock of her life after hearing that her father was ill. She rushed him to Mulago with her younger brother in town, only to learn that her 56-year-old dad’s kidneys were failing due undetected and poorly diagnosed hypertension. As a young doctor to be in training she knew the outcomes of her father were not good without dialysis or kidney transplant. Her father, the only breadwinner and a farmer, couldn’t afford the transparent. And sadly, he passed on right before Daphine began her 3rd year of medical school.
Survived by a single mother and caretaker of 8, Daphine became the pillar of her family working hard, graduating top of her class and earning her first internship residency at Rubaga Hospital, another Catholic Missionary Founded hospital in Kampala. To support her single mother and family, and also develop her skills she would do rotations in 3 hospitals that span the south, central and eastern parts of Kampala with only 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Soon after her medical internship she joined Makerere University Joint AIDs Program (MJAP) with a passion to serve 1000s of patients living with HIV/AIDS, TB, Hypertension and Diabetes. This great foundation is what afforded her the Gilead Sciences Fellowship with the University of California (UC) Berkeley, where she studied a Master’s in public health with a focus on vaccines, infectious disease prevention and control and their intersection with Diabetes and Hypertension. She has gone on to win research grants from the US National Institutes of Health(NIH) to advance her healthcare research in Africa.
She’s a strong advocate of prevention of disease at their early onset especially with low-income families whose one catastrophic illness can cascade an entire family into poverty. She co-founded ACHI to address these major health gaps in Africa’s highly needy and low-income communities where most of these NCDs and chronic illnesses for people like her parents go undetected, treated and managed early to give families and especially breadwinners healthier and longer quality of life.
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