Uganda Ministry of Health Celebrates PEN-Plus Launch

Voices for PEN-Plus advocates from Uganda, from left: Moses Echodu, Edith Mukantwari, and Emmanuel Kisembo.

The Uganda Ministry of Health, the local government of the Kumi District, and the Uganda Initiative for Integrated Management of Noncommunicable Diseases hosted a celebration of the launch of PEN-Plus in Uganda on 23 November.

The event marked the commissioning of the PEN-Plus clinic and training center at Atutur General Hospital in eastern Uganda. The country’s other PEN-Plus clinic is part of Nakaseke General Hospital in the Nakaseke District in Central Uganda. The Uganda Initiative for Integrated Management of Noncommunicable Diseases serves as the implementing partner for both clinics.

The celebration was planned in observance of World Diabetes Day, as the newly built facility will provide diagnosis and treatment services for community members with type 1 diabetes and other severe, chronic NCDs, such as sickle cell disease and rheumatic and congenital heart disease. The training center will build the capacity of healthcare personnel to provide quality care to people living with these NCDs.

“This clinic is important because people, like me, who live with type 1 diabetes and other chronic NCDs need reliable care,” said Emmanuel Kisembo, a Voices for PEN-Plus advocate who attended the event. “With the clinic also offering peer support and education on type 1 diabetes and other severe NCDs, the community will see better health outcomes.”

Voices for PEN-Plus is an advocacy program of the NCDI Poverty Network.

Edith Mukantwari, another Voices for PEN-Plus advocate from Uganda who attended the celebration, wholeheartedly agreed.

“As a person living with diabetes for the past 18 years, I advocate for people in rural communities to have access to the medicine and care they need,” she said. “PEN-Plus offers care for severe, chronic NCDs at district hospitals for the first time, bringing lifesaving care closer to where people live. I’m so excited that PEN-Plus is in Uganda and look forward to seeing PEN-Plus expanded to other underserved communities.”