Breaking gender taboos
After two years of struggling to conceive Brenda Abalo and her husband, Francis Opio, decided to visit Reproductive Health Uganda's clinic in Gulu.
Much as there is progressive attitude to modern medicine in this northern Uganda region, fertility treatment remains a sensitive issue for both men and women. Anxious in the waiting room, Francis said he had decided to come to RHU with his wife because he heard their radio show about a similar problem.
In addition to fertility treatments, the couple was also given counselling and treatment for another condition. “After sex, my wife was in pain. She was complaining a lot three weeks ago. I also felt some itches. They have given us treatment which we are still continuing with,” said Francis.
The couple was given information to ensure that Brenda was in the best possible health to conceive. She is to undergo treatment to reduce the prolactin level in the blood and correct the hormonal imbalance.
“This is not my first time at this clinic," says Brenda. “The service here is better in comparison with other health centres. They give much better attention to the patient.”
“RHU has been supporting a lot of people. They helped a friend of mine; she was having a problem with miscarriage. So she came here and got properly treated”
Follow a day in the life of our team and clients in Gulu, Uganda
7am: The team prepare for the long day ahead
"Every year tens of thousands of Ugandans come to our clinic. Everyone is welcome. Here are just a few of the people that we served in one day last month."
8am: Nancy, 19, becomes a volunteer
"I was suffering but when I came here, I was treated and I got better. Now I'm inspired to volunteer here"
9am: Monica, 25, a sex worker's story
"I am sex working. I came here for Hepatitis B testing and also counselling. I have so many personal problems, but here….they’re so caring."
10am: Jane, 23, saved by family planning
"After multiple miscarriages, family planning here has helped me a lot. I'm glad we've been able to space the number of children we've had. I am not growing old, I am fresh."
11am: Vicky, handling disabilities
"I'm deaf so accessing services is hard, but here they really try to speak in sign language."
12pm: Dorcus, first time patient
"This is the first time I've ever come here, I like the service. They give good counselling so I recommend coming."
1pm: Christine, 45, a grandmother's tale of living with HIV
"I am living with HIV and had HPV. They treated me and now I'm free of cervical cancer."
2pm: Lilian, struggling mother of six with sickle cell
" I have sickle cell disease and so do all my children. I want to have my tube removed so that I don't get pregnant again but I don't know if my husband will allow it."
3pm: Brenda and Francis get fertility treatments
"Fertility treatment is a sensitive issue in Uganda but they help us a lot and we get proper treatment."
4pm: Joyce, 25, repected regardless of her disability
"I realised that at this place they don't segregate. Us people with disabilities have challenges at the main hospitals. You go there, people around look at you as if you are not a human being and you don't fall sick."
5pm: Mobile clinic provides outreach services to remote villages
"Our outreach to remote communities is a 'one-stop-centre'. We give family planning, vaccines for HPV, malaria, and Hepatitis B, HIV testing and more."
22pm: Still giving the last client our very best
"Together, we have great teamwork. Sometimes we're still working up to 10pm because we never chase out our clients. We’ll never close the place when we have a client inside. People come when they have no hope."