We are pleased to tell you about improvements in the lives of our clients, which took place thanks to your participation, as well as present a new family enrolled in the MAMA+ Project in acute need of support.
Updates on our clients’ stories We have already told you about Zhanna and her son Artyom, as well as Anastasia and her little daughter Lyuda.Zhanna is still in the hospital, taking her treatment course. At the end of 2013, Artyom’s father obtained his parental rights, collected a package of documents and took the boy from the babies’ home. The child is currently living with his family. Due to timely preventive treatment, Artyom was not infected with HIV. This case is another confirmation of the fact that professional support is essential for a family in a difficult life situation.
Anastasia is still facing challenges. However, the main news about her is that her little Lyuda’s health status has stabilized. The mother is trying to maintain this status through timely escorts of her daughter to the doctor, massage therapy and care. Anastasia attends biweekly medical case conferences at the MAMA+ Counseling and Daycare Center.As we have mentioned above, a new family had enrolled in the MAMA+ Project: Varvara and her children Vera and Nikita.
Varvara, 25, is 20 weeks pregnant. She has two children: her daughter Vera one year and four months old, and her son Nikita four years old. Varvara learned about her HIV-positive status at a prenatal clinic during her third pregnancy. She was referred to the project by the AIDS Center. The woman contracted HIV from her partner after giving birth to her second child. Unaware of her HIV status, she used to breastfeed her daughter Vera. When the girl attained 18 months of age, she was tested HIV-positive and her diagnosis was confirmed. The project staff members provide support to the woman at this difficult period of her life, taking care of her daughter (they escort the woman to the AIDS Center, arrange medical examinations and tests for Vera, and provide her with special baby formula).The woman was examined and tested to select a therapy in account of her pregnancy. Presently, Varvara visits healthcare institutions, receiving preventive therapy. The father of her expected baby (her partner) does not provide the family with any support. Varvara is currently living with her children. The family’s quality of life is unsatisfactory. Varvara’s relatives do not support her because of her HIV status. When she was a girl, she was in care of her grandmother; her parents were deprived of their parental rights. Varvara’s grandmother lives too far from her and is unable to provide her with any support. Varvara cannot be employed as she is raising two young children and is currently pregnant. She lives in a small room of a communal apartment together with her children. She often clashes with her neighbors, with whom she is in conflict.Presently, Varvara is in need of a bassinet, a crib, babies’ clothes and other things, babies’ formula, and other goods of prime necessity.
I heard about MAMA+ center but I knew nothing about it before coming to "Doctors to children" organization. And I realize that this center is the only place, the only home you can go when you diagnosed with HIV and your life is ruined.
Imagine, you are a young woman, pregnant and left by your boyfriend. And accidentally you were diagnosed with HIV... What you should do? Where you should go? Who would you tell about your diagnose? Usually young women think their life is over and the only thing they can do is to abandon the child and leave him in orphanage. It is because medication from HIV is very expensive, because HIV means no job, no husband, no family, no life... In the world and in Russia particularly there still exist strong ban of people living with HIV, fear and stigma. Person HIV + is still abandoned by government and community. Imagine that situation when you have a baby... In other hand there are centers like MAMA+ for women HIV positive where they can get support and care, where they can be understands and helped.
In St.Petersburg there are several centers MAMA+ under care of "Doctors to children" organization. Its unique place for those who were abandoned and turned out in difficult life situation. MAMA+ has psychologists, social workers, qualified volunteers and facilities like kindergarden and social dormitory. Women can attend HIV school for mothers and learn how to take care of a baby being HIV+. The major thing of these groups is to help woman understand that she can be a mother no matter of her diagnose. To abandon the child and leave him in orphanage is not the right way. Its very important especially for Russia.
Nowadays MAMA+ centers work together with maternity welfare centeres in policlinics and hospitals to identify HIV+ women in difficult life situations and help them.
This experience is successfully replicated in another big city like Ekaterinburg.
To date, the boy’s health status has improved. His mother’s everyday care and love have brought good results – the neurologist no more confirms ICP. The doctor marked improvements in the child’s psychomotor development. The boy has become more active and communicable. After the New Year’s celebration, the mother and the child are preparing for hospitalization for scheduled monitoring and treatment of Maksim’s main disease. The boy’s mother has also decided to manage her own problem: she is attending peer support groups at a rehabilitation center. Maksim accompanies her at every session. The woman has also improved relationships with her family members: she is no more in conflict with her father who could not understand her behavior and problems related to the disease. Maksim’s mother is still facing financial hardships, with all the money spent mainly on provision of care to the child (diagnostics, treatment, specialized monitoring). Kristina’s main source of support is her parents. They provide her with material assistance for raising her older children. The MAMA+ Project provides the family with psychosocial assistance, limited material support, as well as diapers, baby formula and clothes.Presently, Maksim needs warm winter clothes and jumpers.
Denis is nine months now. He has grown up a lot and feels good at the moment. The boy has taken two tests at the AIDS Center - all negative. We hope that he has no infection. Due to the project support, Katya regained documents and registered for government children’s allowances. All this time, Katya has been attending peer support groups regularly at the MAMA+ Center and working actively with the project psychologist. Together with the project staff, Katya is trying to solve the housing problem, as her family of six is currently living in a one-room apartment. Denis is attending the local children’s outpatient hospital for monitoring. Due to special nutrition, his disbacteriosis and allergy have almost been cured. Katya was assisted in purchasing a crib and other things for her baby. The woman has improved the relationship with her partner – the boy’s father. Presently, they are living together, with the man working and taking care of them.
Now MAMA+ staff members are sure that the child will stay in his family. Katya and Denis will continue to receive the project assistance until the boy takes all HIV tests and examinations (usually up to the age one and a half years old). We will keep you informed of any changes in this family.
Thank you for your support!
World AIDS Day Action
Every year in early December, DTC jointly with Cosmetics traditionally hold an action devoted to the World AIDS Day. This year •• (Estée Lauder) volunteers visited DTC’s + Center again. The professional visagistes told the mothers about makeup specifics and gave them prompts for skin care, as well as engaged the women in a holiday makeup party.
The Estée Lauder Corporation and its brand osmetics provide support to DTC projects aimed at assisting HIV-affected women and children. “This is really a good tradition for us to hold the action jointly with M•A•C makeup designers on December 1,” says Olga Sukovatova, MAMA+ Project Coordinator. “All company employees, from visagistes to senior staff, are really concerned about the problem of HIV/AIDS”.
The World AIDS Day has been commemorated since 1988. In 1996, it was turned into a campaign against AIDS. In 2011-2015, the World AIDS Days will be held under the headline “Getting to a Zero: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS Deaths”.
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