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PROJECTS / PROGRAMMES

INTRODUCTION

As dynamic and purpose-driven organisation, we are committed to creating a positive impact in both our own lives and the communities we serve. Embracing innovation and a passion for growth, we frequently embark on new projects and engage with various programs. Our belief in the power of collaboration leads us to partner with like-minded organisations, amplifying our collective efforts to bring about meaningful change. Asan organisation, we constantly challenge ourselves to expand our horizons and push the boundaries, all in pursuit of making a lasting and transformative impact in the world. Together, we strive to create a brighter future for ourselves and our communities.

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HIV and TB programme

In response to the severe HIV/Tuberculosis (TB) outbreak that began in 2001, Penduka, took proactive measures to support their staff members and embroidery ladies who were affected by these diseases. Some women became co-infected with TB while waiting to be tested by the Ministry of Health.  These individuals spent hours each week at clinics, unable to work and struggling with symptoms of coughing and weakness. Recognising the urgent need for assistance, Penduka embarked on a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Health to address the challenges faced by infected individuals.

Providing Support

At the time, the infection rate was alarmingly high, leading to widespread sickness and an inability to work, which translated to financial difficulties for both the affected individuals and Penduka as a social enterprise. Initially, Penduka engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Health, seeking ways to provide support to patients at the clinics. We started by offering practical handwork activities to patients while also delivering comprehensible health education, which had been lacking previously.

This intervention aimed to equip people with the necessary knowledge and coping strategies to manage the effects of TB and HIV, giving them a renewed sense of hope in their fight against these diseases.

 

Expanding the Program

A successful trial run at one clinic paved the way for Penduka to expand the program to other clinics, including those in Wanaheda, Hakahana, Donkerhoek, and Khomasdal. Building on their collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Penduka identified an issue where patients often discarded their medication due to the associated side effects, which made them feel sick when taken on an empty stomach. To address this concern, Penduka suggested providing food to patients before taking their medication, and implementing a system to ensure pill compliance. These recommendations gained traction, leading to a partnership with a Norwegian donor who supported the provision of basic food supplies and invested in the health education program. The combined efforts of Penduka and our partners resulted in a decline in the number of TB patients and a decrease in treatment defaulters.

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Comprehensive Support, a Holistic Approach

To further support the patients, Penduka initiated the production and distribution of daily food supplies for one clinic initially, later expanding to serve five clinics in the vicinity. Additionally, we proposed utilising the barren areas around the clinics to establish vegetable gardens. These gardens served multiple purposes, including providing a source of food for TB/HIV patients, offering light outdoor work for their well-being, and incentivising their continued engagement with the treatment process. On Penduka’s premises  we even cultivated vegetables and mushrooms (known for aiding in lung tissue recovery) to reduce the expenses associated with purchasing the produce for the meals provided.

Positive Impact and Collaboration
The project's success relied on a comprehensive approach that encompassed medication and Direct Observation Treatment (DOTS), food provisions, health education, income-generating activities, and buddy assistance. As a result, Penduka received requests to expand the program to different regions. Drama groups sought additional training, and volunteers were trained to assist in various capacities. Overseas nurses in training provided initial support, contributing valuable insights into the comprehensive nature of the treatment program.

The Way Forward

However, as Penduka's program gained momentum, it faced challenges when an international sponsor withdrew their funding due to external issues.

This situation exposed Penduka's vulnerability to donor dependency and created immediate financial constraints. Realising the need to refocus on their core business as a social enterprise, Penduka made the decision to transfer the management of the TB/HIV program to a local organisation established specifically for patient treatment.

By recognising the importance of addressing the HIV/TB crisis, Penduka took an active role in providing support to affected individuals. Through collaboration with the Ministry of Health, community engagement, and innovative interventions, Penduka made a substantial impact on the lives of infected individuals. Although we ultimately shifted their focus back to their core mission, the legacy of their TB/HIV program continues to be carried forward by a local organisation committed to patient care.

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