Partial Project Funders/Partners: Mildmay Uganda
Background and Goal of the Project: HIV/AIDS has continued to pose a significant public health and development challenge for Uganda and many Sub-Saharan countries. The impact of the disease has been mainly felt through the escalating morbidity and mortality that disproportionately affects women and men during the prime of productive life. The consequences of the epidemic cut across all spheres of the community thus far. It has imposed a severe and unsustainable burden on the meager family resources, as funds are diverted from other areas to AIDS care and treatment services.
HIV/AIDS has depleted the country’s labor force, reduced agricultural output and food security, and weakened educational and health services by depriving families and communities of their most productive population all causing untold suffering to both individuals and families. The numbers of cases for vertical transmission of HIV are on the increase and many children born with HIV pose a significant challenge on treatment outcomes.
Parents affected with HIV find it hard to cater for the nutritional needs of their HIV infected children more especially if both the parent and children are on ART treatment. Without proper nutrition for children infected with HIV the whole treatment program and PMTC is particular is bound to fail.
HVU through partnership with project Mildmay tries to support both HIV infected and affected children within households with nutritional food supplements so as to promote good health among HIV infected and affected children, but also as a way of ensuring success of the treatment programs for both children and parents.
Project Approach: All children in the household are supported with nutritional supplements but using the HIV infected child or children as the index child to provide entry into the household. The rationale for including all children is to control stigma and discrimination that may arise.
The HIV positive index child/children are enrolled from the ART clinic when they come for treatment or medical examination.
Current Target: 160 children
Enrollment so far: 98 children from 31 households
The Challenges: Many children who are HIV positive but not tested remains in the community and as such cannot access treatment and care. In the same way we cannot find then at the ART clinic for enrollment into the nutrition program.
The Needs: More funds to intensify community mobilization for HIV testing care and treatment of HIV positive children. Also more support to see that more families are supported with food supplements.
A donation of $50 USD can buy food supplements packages for a family of 4 people for a month.
Prices in Summary:
$11 provides a vulnerable child with meals for an entire month
(Almost $0.30 a day)
$33 provides a vulnerable child with meals for three months
$63 provides a family with meals for an entire month
5 kg sugar
10 kg beans
10 kg maize flour for food
10 kg maize flour for porridge
3 liters cooking oil
$150 provides a family with food for three months
I came to know HVU through Sunburst Projects in Northern California where I volunteered as a camp counselor in the mid 1990’s. HVU has incorporated in their services the camp concept for teenage girls and on my visit to Uganda I participated in the 2nd annual 3 day camp. The event was overwhelmingly heartfelt. Touching revelations from these young women entwined with song and dance created a life-changing experience for me.
I had an extraordinary experience this past November 2012 with Healthcare Volunteer Uganda. I spent almost a month in the Mubende region with the HVU team to experience up close the role they play to support HIV/Aids infected and affected women and their families as well as orphans and other vulnerable children. I visited 14 villages in 4 different sub-counties of the region and met hundreds of local people.
HVU organized a group in each village of 52 women who would gather to make crafts and in the process discuss and problem solve issues that may arise in their community. During my visits I had an opportunity to engage with the community to hear many issues they face: disease, poverty, inadequate or non-existent healthcare, domestic violence, lack of education, rape, and various stigmas. Together we shared our experiences in the life and did some troubleshooting to resolve some of the minor issues. Though the purpose of the visit was not necessarily to eliminate other’s problems, it was about sharing our human spirit … to listen to each other … to care for one another in whatever way possible.
I came to Uganda to contribute something and maybe to inspire but I in turn was the one inspired. Isn’t that what volunteerism is all about?
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