Today has been my last day here in Uganda experiencing the Pfizer philanthropic global programs that are part of the platform Pfizer Investments in Health.
Today the Pfizer press visit in Uganda has been focused on the Diflucan Partnership Program. Diflucan is a drug that treats fungal opportunistic infections associated with AIDS. Pfizer has promised that it will provide the medicine indefinitely through a donation program ”as long as it is needed”. Since the year 2000 Pfizer has provided the medicine to a value of 1.2 billion US-dollars to 63 countries around the globe. One of these countries is Uganda, where the program was launched 2002.
In addition to the needed pharmaceutical, the program also aims for capacity building and health-care infrastructural support. To see the program work in real life we spend large part of the day at the Mengo Hospital in Kampala. We were welcomed to the hospital by the hospital management team.
After a short presentation of the hospital we walk over to the HIV/AIDS-centre. We were welcomed to talk to the patients that are taking part of the program. Once again, as during my previous days here in Uganda, I was deeply touched. The patients talked openly about their lifes and their situations, and the help they receive at the clinic. Help, support and the medications needed to live their lifes as good as possible.
We met with patients that could suffer from both HIV/AIDS and TB. Unfortunately a very common combination. The hospital professionals showed us around in the clinic – the reception area, the investigation rooms, the rooms where patients met with the doctors, and the pharmacy.
I cannot really describe the experiences I have had during these days. It has been extremely strong feelings in the meetings and the discussions with patients. Some of the patients being severely ill in AIDS, but still with an incredible energy and willingness to fight on. I can only praise their fantastic attitudes and hope that the programs Pfizer and other organizations have put in place help these people in the fight towards the virus and bacteria…
As I was told before leaving for Uganda – ”it will be a life changing experience”. I can only agree. I will never ever see life the same way again. These meetings have filled me with both fear, happiness, anxiety and great hope!