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PEPFAR Hero Ketty Opoka: Mother to a community

PEPFAR Hero Ketty Opoka: Mother to a community

Ketty Opoka

Ketty Opoka lives in the northern Uganda town of Kitgum and is a mother of six children.  Ketty is a teacher by profession and currently serves as Coordinator of Meeting Point Kitgum. Meeting Point is a community-based organization, founded in 1994 as the first responder to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kitgum district.

Funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the organization offers care and support services to HIV/AIDS clients through counseling, follow up on adherence, training on income generation activities and other support services.

In 1990, after losing a close friend to HIV, Ketty made the decision to leave teaching, sacrificed her salary and dedicated her life to serving the community. In the beginning, Ketty and her friends were volunteers ― providing emotional support to those sick with HIV/AIDS. Eventually, Ketty went on to co-found Meeting Point Kitgum.

Meeting Point currently serves over 4,000 clients in the districts of Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader. While Meeting Point lacked many resources, including transportation to reach the community, Ketty never relented, at times riding a bicycle for over 30 kilometers to visit her HIV/AIDS clients. Her dedication won her a grant from Northern Uganda Social Action Fund to construct an office to support her activities. Unfortunately, it was in a low-lying area and every time it rained, the land flooded including the office. This never deterred Ketty from supporting the sick. 

Today Ketty and her staff have constructed a new office in a prime location within Kitgum town where HIV/AIDS clients can learn income generation activities, receive counseling and other care and support services without worrying about floods.

Ketty`s work to improve the quality of life of the sick has changed many lives in the districts of Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader.  In addition to her own six children, she cares for nine other orphans and vulnerable children who are living with her in her home.  Ketty is taking personal responsibility to ease the burdens of those living with HIV and helping northern Uganda to create and AIDS-free generation.  The U.S. Government is proud to call Ketty a PEPFAR Hero.