Dr Andrew Twineamatsiko
About Dr. Andrew Twineamatsiko
Dr. Andrew is a selfless, resilient and caring medical doctor, with experience in clinical practice and public health. He is especially interested in reducing barriers to healthcare across the African region, with a special interest in children living with chronic diseases. Dr. Andrew undertook medical school at Gulu University, Uganda, now studying his Masters of Public Health at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.
Dr. Andrew is motivated to redress the inequalities in health care accessibility, finding challenges with quality and affordability of healthcare. He would love for any individual to be able to go into a hospital believing they can affordably access all the services they want.
“Whenever I feel like I get to understand what they go through, that motivates me. I work hard to make sure our health system is more affordable and accessible for the general population.”
Dr. Andrew’s work with CLAN
Dr. Andrew is currently working as a community development officer for CLAN Africa, establishing CLAN’s Strategic Framework in many new locations across the region. Dr. Andrew resonates with CLAN’s strategic direction, community-centred approach, and close work with children living with NCDs. He first became involved with CLAN in 2017, through the Young People’s Chronic Diseases Network (YPCDN), when discussing with a fellow member CLAN’s Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) project in Kenya. After this interaction, Dr. Andrew reached out to Dr. Kate, who engaged in a positive and helpful manner.
“We’ve had a lot of impact on communities in Uganda, and I’m positive we are continuing to impact a lot of lives.”
Dr. Andrew has had many experiences with CLAN - submitting publications, establishing CLAN Africa, conducting research, developing health needs assessments, representing CLAN at international meetings with global leaders and, of course, supporting many communities of people living with NCDs.
“I’ve learnt a lot as an individual… I will say it’s been a wonderful and beautiful journey working with CLAN.”
Establishing CLAN Africa
CLAN Africa was established upon the awareness of many potential leaders across Africa, who could collaborate effectively, share ideas, expand efforts, and work within the region, requiring the platform of interaction through CLAN.
“Establishing CLAN Africa was looked at as an entry point for ensuring we create a community of leaders within the region who can do projects using CLAN’s strategic framework. We really focus on the wisdom of the families of children living with NCDs.”
To establish CLAN Africa was an arduous process, needing to be registered and incorporated. Dr. Andrew knew he did not want to be confined to Uganda, wishing to expand the work of CLAN across the African region. To incorporate CLAN Africa, a pediatrician, family member of a child involved in one of CLANs communities, and Andrew, were all vital components. Dr. Andrew worked to demonstrate CLAN’s clear vision, and get both community members and healthcare professionals on board. CLAN Africa is now an established and incorporated entity - what a success!
“We have a vision of duplicating our efforts in the different projects to various countries.”
CLAN Africa’s work
CLAN has previously worked in Africa, within Uganda, assisting the community of individuals living with Nodding Syndrome, and in Kenya creating a support network for those living with Rheumatic Heart Disease. Dr. Andrew told us that the Nodding Syndrome community is “still running, it has grown and become self-reliant, and now we don’t even need to come in as CLAN to support them”.
CLAN Africa now works in Uganda with the Epilepsy community, though this was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Dr. Andrew engaged his innovative skills and secured mobile phones to allow communities to meet. Not only this, but whilst patients were originally collecting medication from the hospital, this was impacted by COVID-19, so Dr. Andrew procured a motorbike with fellow colleagues and ensured community members received the medication they needed.
CLAN Africa is establishing projects in Zimbabwe with the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) community, and in Burundi with those living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).
“Moving forward, we’d love to see us in each of the different countries in Africa, because truthfully, chronic illnesses and diseases are many.”
“If we use CLAN’s strategic approach and model, across the different places in Africa, and different illnesses, we will find ourselves supporting a lot of families and children across the region.”
“This is not a framework that needs a lot of money, it just needs you to empower the communities.”
Dr. Andrew spends the large majority of his time interacting with communities, ensuring they are supported, and that the challenges they face can be worked on, meeting with other leaders, and is planning on coordinating many more projects, and achieving the goal of supporting communities across the region.
COVID-19 across Africa
COVID-19 devastated the African region.
“For a country that is still struggling to provide basic meals to their population, COVID came in as a very big hit. We lost several health workers, over 80 doctors. It created a very big fear within communities. People stopped working. It is an already struggling community. Schools closed, and all the young girls got pregnant. I mean, teenage pregnancies - in 6 months of lockdown, you’re getting 1,400 teenage pregnancies. These are young girls that don’t have anything.”
Luckily, vaccines are now flowing into the region, and there is hope for CLAN’s work to expand more effectively without further extensive interruption from the global pandemic.
Dr. Andrew’s Goals
Before working with CLAN, Dr. Andrew engaged with many community projects, especially medical camps, supported by volunteers, partners and health professionals.
“At these medical camps, we were serving, for instance, one week long medical camp, you find you’re serving more than 15,000 people… So we go with a team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists,and go to communities and serve. 15,000 people a week was really impactful. Someone comes and she’s never seen a health worker, she’s 40, she’s 50, she’s 60, and she’s never gotten a chance to talk to a doctor. There’s a sad story of a woman, she had stomach cancer, and didn’t know. She just thought something in her stomach was affecting her, and she didn’t know, she has been living with it for the last 5 years.”
“The medical camp initiative which I am coming up with, we want to rebrand it into a mobile clinic, such that every community in Uganda, especially the hard to reach communities, have access there. They should know that every 3 months a mobile clinic will come, and that a doctor will be there, basic surgical procedures can be done, they can get medicine from a pharmacy, and all of that.”
These medical camps are really helpful, and it’s something Dr. Andrew wishes to pursue and expand upon in the future.
“In 5 years I want to see strong communities of children living with chronic illnesses, from the end of the work we are currently doing as CLAN. I want families calling me saying “Doctor Andrew, we are now living happily, we have established a group, we are now growing our circle”, that is joy to me, but it also brings joy to CLAN and to you.”
Many communities across Africa require the work of individuals such as Dr. Andrew to progress, and need the opportunity to access healthcare.
“If the community is healthy, then the community is productive, and if the community is productive, that means the country is also productive, and the economy grows, and everything moves in the right direction, if you have a healthy and productive community.”