The Gede Foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental organization focused on helping people who are living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Established in 2002 by Dr. Jennifer Jamilah Douglas-Abubakar, Ph.D., the Gede Foundation has closely worked with various sectors of society in providing medical services for a highly-stigmatized and underprivileged population.
While we welcome an increasing openness to talk about mental health in Nigeria, our aim is to go further and grow a new generation who can itemize mental well-being and its high cost on our private and public spheres of life.
Dr. Jennifer Jamilah Douglas-Abubakar, Ph.D., Founder, Gede Foundation
Its efforts to make the lives of people with HIV/AIDS better began with raising awareness for the plight of the victims by conducting various seminars with journalists and caseworkers in the field of health and social work. The Gede Foundation also initiated programs to train professionals treating and taking care of HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases victims.
From hundreds of participants in its initial workshops, the Gede Foundation’s education and training process increased to nearly 2,500 international participants after a year. It was also able to tap the expertise of medical and scientific researchers to help push their cause of helping saving HIV/AIDS victims.
Moving on from raising awareness, the Gede Foundation conducted vaccine trials and HIV/AIDS studies within and outside Nigeria to learn more about the disease, all while giving free tests, treatments, and nutrition assistance to the patients and their families. Eventually, the organization was able to build a one-stop clinic with latest facilities to care for HIV/AIDS victims in Abuja. It also opened a pharmacy, which had stocks full of life-saving medications.
The Gede Foundation also supported livelihood projects for HIV/AIDS victims and their families. It set up programs for the orphaned children of HIV/AIDS patients, as well as women in rural communities who could be vulnerable to the disease. Within the National OVC support guidelines, Gede worked to secure the future of many vulnerable children through a life time investment which will enable them to acquire an educational, medical and psychosocial balance with their non-orphan contemporaries. Working in rural communities in the Federal Capital Territory and Cross River State, 5000 orphans and vulnerable children and their households have accessed this support.
10 years since it opened, the Gede Foundation has made strides in improving the lives of HIV/AIDS victims in Nigeria and nearby regions. Then in 2013, its researchers achieved a breakthrough by discovering that patients suffering from this condition also commonly develop mental health disorders, including epilepsy. Even children and other family members living with HIV/AIDS patients manifested mental conditions.
Following its discovery, the Gede Foundation came up with an HIV/AIDS health program that also integrated mental health screenings, care, and support. The agency became instrumental in changing Nigeria’s healthcare system with the creation of the National HIV-AIDS Strategic Framework.
It was important to give attention to the physical condition of HIV/AIDS patients because it affected the quality of their lives and their chances of living longer. However, it was also curial to give attention to their mental health, since it affected their sense of self and relationships with the people around them, as researchers learned.
The Gede Foundation operates through partnerships and grants from the Catholic Relief Services, Society for Family Health, USAID, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Voluntary Services Overseas, World Bank, PharmAccess Foundation, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, and Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS Division at the Federal Ministry of Health. Today, the Gede Foundation continues to work with other institutions such as the King’s College London and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Commerce and Manufactures in its continued education about the challenges of HIV/AIDS patients. This work has resulted in Gede being mentioned regularly in the national and international media and has cemented the place of the Foundation as one of the country’s leading civil society organisations in terms of underserved and stigmatized health burdens. Click history for more details.
Copyright © 2019 Jennifer Douglas Abubakar