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Combating Food Insecurity with Homestead Farming Production

by Soren Meeuwisse
December 2021

All around the world, in every country, people experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is related to many factors and can be experienced in a variety of ways. Accessing safe and nutritious food is a daily concern particularly for people living in low-income countries with high poverty, high birth rates, and unreliable and changing climates. Unfortunately, a healthy diet composed of diverse nutrients is largely inaccessible and too expensive for many of these people made vulnerable by circumstances often beyond their control (World Health Organization, 2020).

Reach One Touch One Ministries (ROTOM) supports seniors in Uganda and Ethiopia who experience poverty and food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Acayo, 2020). While people are calling upon local governments to respond to the food crisis, non-governmental and charity organizations play a key role in addressing food insecurity. ROTOM is an example of a non-profit organization that uses homestead farming production to combat food insecurity in rural areas of Uganda and Ethiopia. Read more here…

COVID-19: Encouraging Knowledge Translation with Seniors in Ethiopia

by Kaleigh Beauvais
October 2021

COVID-19 has affected all corners of the globe, leaving many in precarious and/or dangerous situations. Ethiopia is no exception: Africa’s oldest independent country, and second largest in terms of population, the country’s healthcare system is ill equipped and difficult to maneuver for most.

The availability and accessibility to healthcare systems is difficult even for young people and those living in urban areas. As such, people living outside of the capital cities who are older and less privileged become increasingly vulnerable when disease is spreading. To continue reading, click here…

A Journey Like No Other

by Pablo Llaguno Cárdenas
August 2021

“The pandemic has hit the world like a storm, nevertheless not everyone is placed on the same boat. While some navigate the storm in a yacht, others are in a row boat or on a raft while others may not even have a boat.” These words were pronounced by Dr. Susan Elliott, chair of ROTOM Canada, in the opening address of ROTOM’s Virtual Journey Experience. This virtual trip to the heart of ROTOM’s work in Uganda did not only remind us of the power of kindness and cooperation in the world, but also showed us how humanity still thrives in the worst of times. To continue reading, click here…

The Mental Health Burden among Sub-Saharan Africa’s Ageing Population

by Amanda Anton
August 2021

The past year has been tumultuous as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal day-to-day activities around the world, with low-to-middle income countries (LMICs) bearing the brunt of the adverse physical, mental, environmental, and social effects of the pandemic. These adverse effects are due to the burden of illness as well as the secondary impacts of the mandated public health restrictions as the burden of illness is greater in LMICs due to decreased health infrastructure. Specifically, seniors residing in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have been disproportionately affected by the sanctions imposed to limit the spread of the virus including social distancing measures and frequent hand washing, which have subsequently led to rising mental health concerns among SSA’s healthcare system. Experts agree that SSA’s senior population is likely to increase to 161 million by 2050, compounding the urgency of these issues (Gyasi, 2020).  Read more here…

Education in Ethiopia: Time for a Holistic Approach

by Zhala Taghi-Zada
May 2021

Ethiopia is a fascinating country in Sub-Saharan Africa undergoing major social and generational changes. In 2019, 40% of the population was 14 years old or younger, uniquely intertwining the lives of the grandparents and grandchildren. Grandparents have often depended upon the support of their adult children and regularly live with them, providing direct help for working young adults. With annual deaths due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic peaking at 70 000 in 2002 alone, over 310 000 children became orphaned by 2019, with their grandparents becoming sole caregivers. This aging population is particularly vulnerable to economic and physical stresses, so it’s imperative that both charitable organizations and the Ethiopian government focus on initiatives to provide relief and social assistance to support them as they raise the next generation, especially when it comes to education. Read more here…

The Importance of Field Nurses

Satveer Dhillon – September 2020
Olivia, the field nurse at ROTOM, completing health promotion workshops through the ROTOM Health Centre. In this picture, COVID-19 had hit East Africa and Olivia was reiterating the importance of washing one’s hands properly.

“They may have chronic typhoid and they keep coming back to the Health Centre to receive more medication. You go to their house and realize they don’t have access to clean drinking water or healthy food which is worsening their health. By going to their home, you will be able to better understand how to help them,” says Olivia Ssesanga, the field nurse at ROTOM-Uganda. Visiting the seniors’ homes to better understand how to improve their health and quality of life, is just one of the many responsibilities Olivia completes. As the only field nurse at ROTOM-Uganda, her days are busy with training, devotion and visiting the seniors. She organizes and participates in community medical outreaches, conducts home visits and provides treatments to the seniors. Moreover, during the fellowships she provides health information and supports field officers to ensure there are good nutritional and home hygiene practices amongst the seniors.

Olivia treating a senior at the senior’s home. The senior pictured is sponsored by ROTOM Canada donors.

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes to ROTOM-Uganda. Olivia expresses, “Previously seniors used to come to health care facility, but due to COVID and since March all of the transportation methods have been cut off, so they had no access. The seniors had no access to health care facility, so we had to reach out to them in the community to make sure they are receiving health care.” To adjust to these changes, ROTOM has utilized their community medical outreach model. The community medical outreach model was developed in mid-2019. It was recognized that health promotion in the seniors’ homes is more effective as it is better to focus on the specific needs of each senior. During COVID, this model allows seniors to be able to access health care from the comfort of their home by allowing community volunteers to utilize technology to set up virtual consultations and keep the medical staff updated on the health of the seniors.

There is a significant need to find sustainable support for the field nurse. As discussed previously, the field nurse has many responsibilities such as training volunteers from the community, making regular home visits even during COVID-19 and conducting health education training amongst the seniors. As the salary of the field nurse is provided through donations, continuous donations are needed to keep this position ongoing and to possibly hire another field nurse as this is a long-term commitment to continue to support our seniors.  To donate please visit: click here and under “APPLY YOUR DONATION TO A SPECIFIC FUND SET UP BY THIS CHARITY”, select 6.Health Centre.

During the months of April-June 2020, Olivia made over 170 visits to seniors’ homes and refilled seniors’ medicines over 1,300 times.

Thank you to Olivia Ssesanga and Justine Nagawa from ROTOM Uganda for participating in an interview with ROTOM Canada.