Health Care for 50 HIV positive children in Zambia

 
$5,803
$4,197
Raised
Remaining

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Power of Love team would like to thank you for supporting our pediatric HIV care program in Zambia. As a result of your generosity we were able to add 50 HIV+ children last month. With the addition of these children, we will have a total of 250 HIV+ children who are receiving a comprehensive package of life saving health care services and will do so till they turn 18 years of age. This package includes food, medicines, weekly health visits from community health workers, regular visits from the Project Nurse, psycho-social counseling, education in HIV prevention, and adherence monitoring and training for older children. In addition, caregivers (most are single moms and many are grandmothers caring for multiple orphans) of children completed a five day training in caring for an HIV positive child.

We would like to share stories of two children enrolled in our program last March. These two children are typical and their experiences can provide a baseline for assessment of the impact of our program on the health and well-being of most children.

Theresa (name changed) is 13 years old, both her parents are HIV+ and she is on ARV medication. She is living with her mom, stepfather, and two siblings. Her stepfather does not have a full time job so it is difficult for him to support the whole family. Her mom is expecting a new baby and has been enrolled in Power of Love's PMTCT program to ensure that the baby is born HIV free. Theresa joined our program due to her difficult family situation and poor health. At this time, she is receiving food, medicines and weekly health checkups from our community health worker, psycho-social counseling, and education on prevention of STI’s. Her mom received training in caring for an HIV+ child so she can prevent/identify/treat infections or escalate care to the next higher level of medical care. We are confident that Theresa will benefit from the care provided, will start to improve in health, and attend school.

Cole (name changed) is a five year old boy, and the youngest of three siblings. He lives with his parents who are both on treatment for HIV. He tested positive for HIV six weeks after birth. In 2014, he was very sick due to severe malnutrition and was in hospital for a month. He has been receiving a high protein soya supplement in addition to food, medicines and weekly visits from our community health worker/Nurse. His mom was trained in caring for an HIV+ child so that she can prevent/treat common infections before they compromise his health. We are happy that Cole is showing signs of better health already and has started gaining weight slowly. We are confident that his health will continue improve in the coming months and that he can start school next year. He is an active boy and plays well with his peers.

Thanks for giving children like Theresa and Cole a chance to live close to a normal and healthy, active life. 

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As a result of your generosity and support, we will be adding 50 new HIV positive children to our program this month. The children have been identified and will be receiving food, medicines and a package of life saving health care services till they turn 18 years of age. The package of health care services includes weekly health visits from community health workers, regular visits from the Project Nurse, psycho-social counseling, education in HIV prevention, and adherence monitoring and training for older children. In addition, their caregivers (most are single moms and many are grandmothers caring for multiple orphans) will be undergo a five day training in caring for an HIV positive child.

Impact of this program: Once the child has been on our program for a few months, the child improves in health (as measured by a gain in weight/CD4 counts), and has fewer missed days from school due to sickness. In addition to improving the child’s health, the child’s family knows how to take care of the child, and other sick members in the family and understand the importance of keeping children in school. In addition, family members begin to come forward for testing for HIV, which is the first step in prevention of this disease. Finally, women on our program share their knowledge about caring for an HIV+ child and become role models for others in the community

Training to Caregivers: The goal of the training is to equip parents/guardians in basic nursing skills and psychosocial counseling so that the child is under the care of a trained caregiver 24/7.  Post training, parents/guardians are able to take care of different kinds of opportunistic infections that are common among HIV positive children at home and are able to identify situations when the child needs a higher level of care. As a result, most children to improve/stabilize in health and have fewer opportunistic infections once they have been on our program for 4-5 months. 

Profile of the New Children: Out of this group of 50 children, 33 children are female and the rest are male. The children range in age from two to sixteen years with a majority of them in the age range from 6-12 years and most between 2-16 years. Since most of the children are of school going age, we will ensure that the children attend school and also educate caregivers on the importance of keeping children in school. Our goal is for these children to stay heathy and graduate middle, and high school.

With the addition of these 50 children, we will have a total of 250 HIV+ children on our program. Every one of these 250 children will receive food, medicines and a package of life saving health care services. As a result, most children stabilize/improve in health, attend school and live close to normal lives so that they can grow up to become contributing members of their community.  

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With your generous support, we continue to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. Our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program benefits 200 HIV positive children directly, and an additional 1200 children indirectly as our trained caregivers share their learning with others in the community.

Training in HIV Care Provided to Caregivers of HIV+ Children

In November 2014, 29 new children were enrolled ( to replace the children who graduated as they turned 18 years old) in our pediatric HIV care program. This program provides food, medicines, and a package of life saving health care services to 200 HIV positive children and training in caring for an HIV positive child to caregivers. Training provided to caregivers ensures that the HIV+ child is under the care of a trained caregiver 24/7 and a result, caregivers with the help of our community health workers, are able to take better care of the children. The health of the children improves due to fewer opportunistic infections and the prevention of infections from turning into more serious illnesses.  

Training Program: The caregivers were trained in basic home nursing and psychosocial care of HIV+ children. The objectives of the training were:

    • Develop capacity for effective, comprehensive care and treatment of HIV infected children. For example, teach: (i) simple yet effective responses to common conditions such as diarrhea, fever, malnutrition, and TB; (ii) good hygiene; (iii) how to administer and monitor anti-retroviral therapy; and (iv) how to recognize signs of HIV/AIDS.
    • To build a support group by developing relationships with other members of the group.
    • To build on their already existing skills in taking care of sick children.
    • To be able to discuss freely about HIV and support each other.
    • To help the staff in the monitoring and evaluation of both the processes and outcomes of this training.
    • To better respond to the changing needs of the community.
    • To gain knowledge on the prevention of malaria and use of treated mosquito nets.
    • To learn about HIV/AIDS.
    • Discussed the need to include sexual and health education for both girls and boys.
    • The role of the family in the upbringing of children, stages and characteristics of adolescence, and the unique needs and challenges that they face.
    • Teach the importance of vaccination and regular clinic visits for children less than five years of age.
    • Importance of early screening for cervical and breast cancer.

In addition, there were several discussions on the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans. We discussed how the wellbeing of the whole family is affected by the social, economic and psychosocial consequences of HIV/AIDS. The participants were very interested in these discussions as most families have children who have been orphaned due to AIDS.

All 29 caregivers attended the seven day training with enthusiasm and asked several questions even though very few knew how to read and write. The training sessions were conducted in the local language and the methods used were mostly participatory and involved group work, storytelling and demonstrations. This made it easier for the participants to understand and learn.

To sum: The training was educative and our expectation is that it will be put to use by the caregivers on a daily basis. Since most of the caregivers are grandparents, it is important to refresh their memories regarding what they learnt during training. Hence, caregivers will continue to be educated during home visits by our community health workers.

At this time we are raising funds to add 50 new children to this program. Please donate generously so we can continue to provide quality health care to HIV positive children in Zambia. These services help improve the children’s health so they can stay in school, keep learning, and grow up to become contributing members of their community.      

Thanks and happy New Year.

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The team at Power of Love would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and express our gratitude for your support throughout the year. Your donation has given the gift of health to 200 HIV positive children in Zambia. Please take a moment and treat yourself to this short video shot during our last field visit. We hope that you enjoy the video as much as we do.

Power of Love's pediatric HIV/AIDS care program continues to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. We could not have achieved our goals this year without each of you. 

Have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and laughter!

                    THANK YOU

Links:

With your generous support, we continue to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. Our paediatric HIV/AIDS care program benefits 200 HIV positive children directly, and an additional 1200 children indirectly as our trained caregivers share their learning with others in the community.

What’s New in 2014?

"Young Stars” (still in pilot stage): The vision behind this program is to help a child achieve his/her dream of continuing his/her education after high school. The program is designed to provide the child with the right tools so that he/she can graduate middle and high school and possibly enroll at the University. 

Our Young Star program will complete six months in October 2014 and so far the results have been impressive. Jane (name changed), our first “Young Star” is growing well and thriving. As a result of the support provided to Jane and her family, she is happier, more confident about her future and enjoying Safe Park and school related activities. In addition, Jane has accepted her HIV+ status, is adhering well to her medication regimen, and helps her grandmother with chores around their home. She meets with her mentor every week when they discuss topics important to an adolescent girl such as reproductive health, and safe sex issues. As compared to six months back, Jane shows more interest and enthusiasm for school. She has understood the importance of an education, completes her homework on time, does not miss or want to miss classes, and participates in all school activities. According to her teacher, her performance at school has improved dramatically. Jane’s grandmother is very thankful and happy as she says that this program has brought a smile to her granddaughter’s face. We are proud of our “young star”.

Zero New Infections: In 2014, we continue to achieve our goal of zero new HIV infections. A set of twins was delivered by one of the HIV+ moms in our paediatric HIV program. The new born twins are HIV free even though they have HIV positive siblings. To date, out of the 27 babies born since we started PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child transmission) intervention only one child was born HIV positive.

What's Next?

We will be expanding our program from 200 children to 250 children in the next three months. In addition we will be tracking and following up with the 20 children who will be turning 18 and leaving our program. We wish these children the very best as they join the world of adults.

Our focus for 2014 and beyond continues to be the provision of quality health care to the children, training in caring for an HIV+ child to family members, micro loans and business training to women, and mosquito bed nets and education on prevention of malaria to the community. The ripple effects of this approach are huge and long lasting for the community.

Thanks for caring.

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Organization

Project Leader

Alka Subramanian

Founder/Director
San Diego, CA Zambia

Where is this project located?

Map of Health Care for 50 HIV positive children in Zambia