Maxensia Nakibuuka Takirambule
Lungujja Community Healthcare Organization, Uganda
"Anything about us, without us, is not for us"
Ms. Takirambule is from Uganda's capital city of Kampala and is the founder of Lungujja Community Healthcare Organization (LUCOHECO).
They focus primarily on providing home-based care treatment and support to HIV and AIDS positive patients and other vulnerable groups.
Thirty home-based caregivers serve over 7,000 people, including three nurses, three counselors, and one doctor.
They also offer voluntary counseling and testing in her
community, a smaller district of Kampala.
is an experienced local and global leader, and along with the work she
does with LUCOHECO
, Ms. Takirambule cares for her
four children, the orphans of her
brothers and sisters and her
93 year old mother.
Ms. Takirambule founded LUCOHECO in 2005.
Prior to founding the organization, she
had been caring for her
brothers, sisters, and husband, who were all infected by HIV/AIDS.
experience caring for her
family inspired her
to meet with other women in her
community to look for alternative solutions to the problems caused by HIV/AIDS.
As a community leader, Maxensia has noted many needs in her community.
In an interview she
have no power.
are infected because men force them into having sex, often because they have no power in decision-making regarding sex.
Therefore, the response of LUCOHECO
has been to offer free or very affordable care services to those in need in their community.
As home-based caregivers, they offer unique services because they go out to homes and involve patients in decision-making.
Many of her
clients are very satisfied with the work of LUCOHECO
because they feel that home-based care service is better than clinics because the caregivers find those who need services and provide them comfort in their homes.
sees a great deal of strength and resilience in her
community and the women she
Most of the caregivers, herself included, are also HIV-positive and therefore know much about proper care for HIV infected patients and are able to offer meaningful counseling.
are also very engaged in the community and have become empowered by the work they do, as many have acquired resources on their own.
They are also grateful for owning the building they work out of which allows them to save money on rent to apply it directly to the work that serves the patients.
also is very thankful for the help of local networks that disseminate information for them.
has seen many changes in her
community as a result of the work of LUCOHECO
People approach LUCOHECO
to be tested on a more regular basis, and community members have learned to their medication regiments.
believes the unique services they provide have encouraged people to come to them.
is also a part of a local women's network called UCOBAC which she
is actively involved in.
Forty members of LUCOHECO
organization because they are a part of the same network.
At both the national and international levels, Ms. Takirambule
calls on policy-makers to directly target and support grassroots organizations because there are no sustainable programs for her
organization to access.
There is a current trend in government policy is to shift more responsibility to CBOs like LUCOHECO
but without compensation.
lobbies for government accountability to grassroots organizations such as her
wise words, "Anything about us, without us, is not for us" is a perfect embodiment of what all care-givers are fighting for: recognition of their work and inclusion in decision-making processes.