TKMOAMS celebrates 21-year anniversary

26 Nov 2017 14:00pm
OSHAKATI, 25 NOV (NAMPA) – A group of home-based care volunteers and HIV/Aids patients on Friday gathered at Oshakati’s Oneshila informal settlement to mark 21 years of existence of the TKMOAMS.
TKMOAMS is an abbreviation of an Oshiwambo phrase: ‘Tate Kalunga Mweneka Omukifi wo Aids Moshilongo Shetu’, which roughly translated into English as, ‘Almighty Father help us to stop the Aids pandemic in our country’.
Started in 1996 as the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital outreach project, TKMOAMS is a voluntary non-profitable, community-based and social welfare organisation registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Two nurses from the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital - Diana Shilongo and Engelbert Mwanyangapo - played a vital role in the forming of TKMOAMS after they received training in HIV counselling and home-based care.
Shilongo is the first chairperson of TKMOAMS, while Mwanyangapo is the organisation’s first technical advisor.
They formed the organisation after realising that many patients could be properly treated in their homes, and they decided to recruit and train local people as home-based care volunteers to break down discrimination that surrounds HIV/Aids.
“The project grew quickly, as every month more and more local volunteers ask to take part,” said Shilongo, whilst speaking at the anniversary celebrations.
TKMOAMS covers the four northern regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto, and has a support centre at Onamutayi in the Oshana Region’s Ongwediva Constituency.
Shilongo explained that TKMOAMS reaches out to the needy in the communities deep in the rural areas, and its main focus is to restore hope and improve the quality of life for people affected and infected by HIV/Aids.
“Since its inception, TKMOAMS has trained over 1 000 volunteers in home-based care, counselling and home visits, and about 600 of them are working with 29 communities in the four regions,” Shilongo said.
The volunteers care for over 3 600 clients who live with HIV/Aids.
They also support orphans and vulnerable children by regularly visiting their homesteads and offering necessary assistance.
According to Shilongo, the project’s soup kitchen programme serve a total of 550 children in the Eendombe, Omaalala, Othika, Onakapya, Onamutayi and Oneshila communities.
One of the trained counsellors, Daniel Indongo, told the commemoration gathering that many people living with HIV, including himself, face stigma.
“My close relatives or family members rejected the food I have prepared after learning that I am HIV positive,” Indongo revealed, adding that TKMOAMS volunteers help to reduce stigma in communities.
The organisation is determined to provide counselling and social welfare services, but faces challenges of serious financial and material shortage, which has forced the organisation to cut down on its operations.
This started in 2015 as a result of the loss of donor support. Africa Group of Sweden, the French Embassy, Namdeb, Family Health International, Stephan Lewis Foundation and Yelula Ibis have been some of the financiers.