Patron and Founder, TASO Uganda
Deputy chair AMREF International Board of Directors
Dr. Noerine Kaleeba is a leader and a pioneer who has made a significant difference in the lives of people with AIDS and their families not only in Uganda, but also at political and strategic levels throughout the world. She has remarkable energy and compassion. She has demonstrated pragmatism and vision, humility and humanity on this difficult journey.
A physiotherapist who specialised in orthopedics and community rehabilitation Noerine was head of the school of physiotherapy at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the largest teaching hospital in Uganda before joining the HIV/AIDS frontline.
In 1987, after her husband was diagnosed with AIDS she started a support group which blossomed into a pioneer movement to address stigma, restore hope and dignity of people and families living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda, The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO Uganda). As its first director, Noerine developed TASO into a global model of HIV prevention, AIDS care and support. She handed over TASO leadership in 1995.
Noerine was among the small group of people to join Dr Peter Piot in setting up UNAIDS, and became a UNAIDS staff member in January 1996, based in Geneva. After serving 10 years as partnership and community mobilisation adviser for the program she retired from UNAIDS at the beginning of 2006. She then worked for a collaborative of four UK-based foundations: The Diana Fund, Comic relief, The Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Children Investments Fund Foundation to develop a holistic program for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS within the National HIV/AIDS response framework for Malawi until July 2008. She operates as an independent consultant based in Uganda
She is a recipient of several National and international awards (Uganda, Senegal, Norway, Sweden, USA, Belgium, Scotland) including three Honorary Doctorates, from Nkumba university in Uganda, Dundee university, Scotland and from Geneva school of diplomacy and International relations, Switerzland, and has been Knighted by the Republic of Italy in June 2009. She has been a governance member of several bodies including the Uganda AIDS commission, the WHO Global Commission on HIV/AIDS; Marie stopes International, AMREF, and was The first African to be elected Chair of ActionAid International Board of Trustees. She has written and contributed to numerous publications on HIV/AIDS including an autobiography titled We Miss You All AIDS in the family.
Described by one Scottish daily as the “angel of Africa” Noerine is globally recognised for her efforts in facilitating meaningful involvement of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, which is believed to be one of the key pillars of Uganda’s relative success in addressing the AIDS pandemic. And yet Noerine states that she will only begin to register real success the day AIDS related stigma is defeated and people with AIDS have their human rights respected. She continues to work as an independent consultant towards total defeat of HIV/AIDS and also supports TASO as its Patron and founder.