* By Brian Muyunga
Students at Makerere University in Uganda have launched an evangelical and health mission in Kayunga, one of the rural villages in Mityana district located about 50 km from Kampala, Uganda.
The initiative follows the October 2018 launch of the Thursdays in Black Campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in Uganda by the Anglican community of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity at Makerere University.
Kayunga is known for its high rate of school dropouts and early marriages, and the community is dominantly patriarchal. From 6-9 June, the Makerere University students under Buganda Anglican Youth Missioners and Thursdays in Black “Ambassadors” visited the village to spread Christian love through charity, and restore hope by promoting abundant life. They also created awareness about the need to test for HIV, and to address sexual and gender-based violence and safe sex practices to end the spread of HIV.
More than 30 rural families were visited in door-to-door visits. A number of families opened up to the students about the existence of sexual and gender-based violence and illnesses in their families. These were prayed for and encouraged to keep their focus on Christ for guidance and strength as they seek treatment and wellbeing.
The students also reached out to four village schools of which two were secondary schools, one was a primary school and the fourth a tertiary institution. During the outreach, students were sensitized about the prevalence of HIV, sexual and gender-based-violence and the risky sexual behaviors that are increasing the vulnerability of young people to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The students were advised to get tested for HIV to know their status. They were also called upon to participate in the health promoting activities in the village.
Makerere students mission. Photo: Brian Muyunga
A health camp was conducted at the village chapel grounds (St Paul’s Church of Uganda Kayunga) during which people were tested for HIV in addition to other health services provided to them like malaria, typhoid and blood pressure testing and treatment. These health services were provided by Mityana Mildmay district officers who also supported the health camp with testing kits and medicine. The same team committed to provide support, care and treatment of whoever was diagnosed with HIV. A total of 46 people were tested; results were held confidential by the Mildmay team. The mission concluded with a healing and deliverance service presided over by Rev. Balaka Titus of Kampala diocese.
* Brian Muyunga is a student at Makerere University Uganda.