Maria was born HIV positive 7.5 years ago in Kirombe, Uganda. The staff of Baylor-Uganda started visiting her family in 2006 and she was started on anti-retroviral syrups immediately. Besides her HIV+ status, Maria had developed cerebral malaria which led to her mental and physical retardation. Our partner hospital encouraged her parents to continue attending the clinic and received the required treatment for opportunistic infections, courtesy of AFCA.
Maria was attending the clinic but was not improving as quickly as expected, which led to her father’s frustration and disapproval with the program. He disowned Maria because he said that as the first born, he was disappointed that she was such a burden to him. Despite this circumstance, her mother continued bringing the girl into the Baylor-Uganda clinic for care and treatment.
In 2008, Maria’s father took on a second wife. This led his first wife to become depressed and to stop adhering to appointments and treatment for Maria. However, with continuous support from our Community Home Based Care Team and great tenacity, the mom received counseling and was strongly encouraged to continue attending the clinic, which she did from time to time.
In 2010, a kitchen gardening project was funded and supported selected families on income generating projects of which this family benefited. This was what encouraged Maria and her mom to return full time into the clinic. The girl resumed treatment and was adhering satisfactory. In 2012, with continued care and access to medication, this child started talking and her mental status slowly was restored, which was a surprise to all who knew her. She started school and is currently in upper pre-primary school!
This is truly a miracle child – Maria, who would never been given the chance to live, thanks to being HIV+ and having had cerebral malaria, is now in school, is thriving and doing very well. Her mom remains focused on her child’s health while feeding them well from the garden they’ve established. We have great hope for Maria, thanks to YOU, who believe in the work we do and support it through your donations. Thank you for believing in us and for giving Maria the chance to live.
Due to an agreement with Baylor-Uganda, we cannot post a photo of Kalungi or other very young children.
Kalungi is a client at Baylor-Uganda in the post natal clinic. He and his sister have been in care for one year and five months. He is 3 years old and currently in the care of his grandmother who is so appreciative for the care and treatment that has been renderred to her grandchildren.
At the grandmother's home she narrates “I went to visit my daughter and all I found was a sick mother with 2 very small children in the house. I asked her to come to hospital for an HIV test because she had taken all kinds of medication but was not improving at all. She agreed with but insisted the children not be tested. I think she was afraid of what she'd find out”. She was found HIV positive and was started on medication.
Later, the children were also brought to Baylor-Uganda, tested and were started on medicine and care because they were found to be HIV+. She was later visited by a community health based worker for adherence and with utter dismay, she found the babies home alone. The next day, the health worker visited early and found that the mom had forgotten to administer the night dose because she had come back late from work. She was asked why she had a lot of pill balances and said she had no time because of her nature of work and her unreliable schedule. The children’s grandmother was called and asked to intervene, and she immediately agreed to take the children to her place where she would take better care of them.
The biggest challenge grandma faced was that she was not financially stable and her little income from her small mukene [small fish] business could not sustain the whole family, especially with the special diet needed for the malnourished boy. He was referred to the Nutrition unit for further help to improve his health. She was further strained by the death of her daughter who used to sent some money for the children’s upkeep.
Grandama says she is very happy for what Baylor-Uganda and AFCA have done for her grand children, for the medication she would not be able to afford and for the nutritional supplements that have helped her grandchildren’s health to improve. She says they are now looking healthy and are more active in their play. She also appreciates the continuous routine visits and adherence counseling by the field officers, showing that she and her grandchildren are loved and thought about.
YOU are part of this story, friends. YOU have helped provide medicine and HIV testing kits for children like Kalungi and his sister. YOU have helped give their grandmother hope and YOU've helped give life to the little ones. Thank you!
Aisha is a 9 year old girl who lives with her paternal grandmother in the village of Ziranumbu and has been doing so since she was abandoned by her mother at the age the of 11 months. By that time, she was wasted and crippled with one of her little feet being turned in. When her grandma took her in, she brought her in Mulago Hospital, where she was immediately admitted due to her poor state and health. This was February 2005 and upon admission, the baby was tested for HIV and sadly, Aisha tested positive. Grandma was trained in the giving of antiretroviral medicine so that she could take care of the baby. Grandma was ready for the challenge and vowed to bring Aisha to the hospital and to get her medicine as needed.
So, with the continuous good adherence to care and treatment from Baylor-Uganda, the provision of medicine from AFCA, and the intervention of the Community Home Based Care support at home (access to medication, pill counting, counseling), this little one was normalized and started school! Currently, she is in primary one with support from donors. The family was also enrolled on a food program, have been given school fees support and started as well on the Back Yard Gardening program.
This is a true success story, friends. Aisha has a great shot at the future, with her continued care, medicine and schooling on the way. Thank YOU for being part of this story. Thank YOU for being part of Aisha's life. And thank YOU for giving hope.
If you'd ever like to visit one of our projects or would like to learn more about our work, please write me at tweaver@AFCAids.org.
On behalf of Aisha,
So many mothers find themselves in the horrible position of wondering, wondering, wondering. They wonder if they are HIV+. They wonder if the baby in their belly is, as well. They aren't sure...they have an idea that their husband has been unfaithful and he doesn't look as well as he usually does, but what does that mean? Is he simply going through a bad patch in life or has he contracted the virus that puts fear in everyone's heart?
A mom wonders - what should I do? What is the best thing to do for myself and this tiny baby who is about to be born? And, if she decides that yes, she will take the test to determine her HIV status, she wonders how she'll pay for it. And, what happens if she IS positive? how will she pay for the medicine she will need? For the medicine the baby will need, if she, too, is positive?
We at AFCA give these moms options to help them have an easier time as they make this very brave and oftentimes, lonely, decision. First, they are encouraged to attend counseling with their spouse. If they do, and even if they don't, they are told that we can provide the tests for them for free. Yes, FREE testing for them and for their baby at birth. And, if they happen to be HIV+, they will receive the care they need in order to live a long, healthy life for many years to come. Counseling is, of course, part of the package, which moms everywhere appreciate beyond words.
Just last week we sent 25,000 HIV testing kits to Uganda, thanks to your donations. Isn't that wonderful? Tell you what - the women and children who received tests thing YOU are wonderful for caring enough to give them a chance and to give them a reason to decide that it is a good idea to get tested.
Thank you, folks. Please don't stop now...we want to continue providing tests and medicine for children and pregnant moms and we can only do that with your help.
My email is tweaver@AFCAids.org if you'd ever like to join a Vacation with a Purpose or would like to climb Kilimanjaro in support of our children.
Another big request for medicine has come to us out of Uganda - medicine to help over 3600 children for three months. This is huge for such a small organization like the American Foundation for Children with AIDS! But, in the spirit of helping children like Joseph, we are happy to help.
You see, Joseph was one of the very first children we gave life saving medicine to. He was malnourished and very, very sick when we first met the 11 year old. Unable to walk on his own due to his condition, he was carried into the clinic by his father, who thought he'd never see his son alive again. After just 2 weeks on anti-retroviral medicine and good nutrition, Benson was walking and talking again. Two months later, you couldn't even tell the boy had almost died - he was playing and carrying on like any other 11 year old would.
Now at 18, Joseph is studying to be a mechanic. He has a twinkle in his eye that is infectious and makes everyone around him laugh. I always find it a joy to visit him and to hear of his dreams. First, all he wanted to do was to live. Then, he wanted to live long enough to graduate from high school. Now that he's accomplished that feat and he is doing amazingly, he wants to have his own business. At the rate he's going, he'll do just that and much more, I have no doubt!
So, when we receive a request to help 3600 children, how can we say no? We want to give each of those children the same we gave to Joseph - hope and health and the ability to dream. Please help us today - even a small donation will help us provide what these children need.
Thanks for all you've done for them and all you continue to do!
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