The AIDS support organization (TASO), has rolled out a team of vigilantes to track perpetrators of torture and violence against HIV/Aids victims.
TASO is an indigenous non government organization offering HIV prevention, care and support services to HIV/AIDs infected and affected persons in the Uganda.
Rose Nalubega, the TASO Masaka district Centre manager said that they have trained and deployed a team of community linkage facilitators to identify and report perpetrators of violent acts against HIV/AIDS victims.
Two vigilantes have been deployed in each sub county within the greater Masaka region to track down individuals involved in the abuse of rights of people living with HIV/Aids, Nalubega adds.
The move follows a recent research by TASO which established that a number of HIV/AIDS affected persons have become victims of domestic violence, mistreatment and torture inflicted on them by people who should ideally be taking care of them.
She is optimistic that this will reduce the vulnerability of both the infected and affected persons who are suffering stigma and discrimination in the community.
She adds that the team has been trained in basic human rights principles and will have to liaise with the police and other human rights defenders to eliminate the vices.
Namujuzi Regina, one of the vigilantes’ deployed in Mukungwe Sub County, Masaka district says, she is among the infected persons who have suffered abuse because of her status.
Namujuuzi, says that following the death of her husband, her in-laws pushed her out of the home blaming her of being responsible for their son’s deaths. She is also optimistic that the team will help other persons who are being mistreated in the community.
Oneng Lillian, the planning and strategic information coordinator at TASO-Masaka, says there was minimal information flow from the service providers and the clientele, created by limited manpower.
Oneng says that some of their patients have also been reluctant to turn up for their appropriate hospital visits, saying that the community linkage facilitators will also perform a multipurpose service by bridging the gap between the patients and the service providers.