Mari Seto is an In-The-Field Representative for GlobalGiving. She is visiting projects throughout China. Here is her most recent "postcard" from Fuyang, China:
When we first stepped into the office of AIDS Orphans Salvation Association (AOS) in Fuyang, a city in Anhui Province, we were greeted by a group of excited children shouting, running, and playing happily among themselves. This is a place where HIV-infected children, children with family members that are infected with HIV can safely play without being exposed to the stigma towards HIV patients in China. For a while, we watched children playing games, drawing, and taking dance lessons taught by the local volunteers.
In the AOS office, we met Kristin and Ally who are representatives from PATS Foundation. PATS Foundation and their local partner AOS are working together to give extensive care to the children that are infected by HIV. While the medication to contain the effect of HIV is provided free of charge from the government, the children and their families lack mental and physical support. PATS and AOS send Community Health Workers to check up on the change of HIV infected children's physical and mental conditions, as well as talking to the doctors on behalf of the family.
Next day, Charlene and I accompanied the community health workers and PATS team visiting four HIV infected children in the Lixin village, located two hours outside of Fuyang. We watched the health workers check the pill bottles to see if the children have been taking the medicine properly. Health workers also weighed and measured the children's heights to see if they have been growing healthily. Kristin, who has been visiting Fuyang over many years, told us that the conditions of the children got much better since PATS and AOS started sending health workers. At the same time, it became apparent during the visit that the many of the kids were malnourished - PATS and AOS team decided they will buy additional multivitamins for the children.
Though improving, the stigma towards HIV patients is strong in China- many patients keep their sickness secret so that they would not be abandoned by their community or even their family members. Charlene and I were very impressed how the PATS and AOS team are determined to provide extensive care for the children, despite the stigma.
I recently returned from a field visit to our operations in Henan and Fuyang in May. PATS’s work is progressing smoothly, and I observed visible improvements in the children’s health and well-being.
Xinxing, a 9 year old boy in Henan, has gotten much healthier since he switched to 2nd line drugs this year. He sang a popular song “Xuexi Lei Feng” and read aloud from a book we bought for him when we visited. Xueqiang, a 10-year-old boy in Fuyang, is probably most improved of all. Xueqiang had poor adherence due to a fluctuating home situation when I visited last year, but he has had nearly perfect adherence during all of PATS’s home visits this year, and his family plans to send him to school in the fall after a long hiatus.
But my most memorable experience was visiting longtime PATS senior advisor Wang Liyao at his home in Hangzhou. Mr. Wang is a 72-year-old retired professor originally from Anhui, and he has been with PATS and our local partner AOS since the very beginning in 2003. He was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the pancreas in March of this year, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
During my visit on May 15 he spent quite a bit of time relating to me his vision for improving our measurement of drug adherence, showing that PATS is on his mind despite his illness and treatment. A few words from Mr. Wang to the PATS community:
“Fortune is not unfair to me. It bestowed misfortune on me, but meanwhile, it gives me so much happiness and joy. Thank you, to the PATS community, for all of your heartfelt wishes, warm letters, and emails. Your words moisten my heart just like the rain and dew, enlighten my life just like sunshine.”
If you would like to donate in honor of Mr. Wang and send him a personal message of support, please choose “Make this donation in honor of someone” to the right of this report, and email your message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can forward it to Mr. Wang.
Jialan Wang PATS Board Member
Video messages from Mr. Wang, that I recorded on May 15: English: https://vimeo.com/43052942 Chinese: https://vimeo.com/43013597
You can read more about Mr. Wang, PATS's unsung hero, in our last newsletter: http://patskids.org/sites/default/files/April%202012.pdf
And see him in action on video from our site visit last year: http://vimeo.com/album/1750034
Dear PATS Supporters,
We hope you are all enjoying the splendors of the spring season. In this newsletter we wanted to highlight one of our children who is open for sponsorship through generous donors like you. Sponsoring a child provides for all of their needs throughout the year, and is a great way to keep engaged with one particular child.
Yao Yao lives in the countryside in Funan, Anhui with his parents, both of whom are HIV-positive. Yao is like any other sever year old boy - he loves to play with his friends and never uses his indoor voice! Although life in rural China is difficult, Yao’s brother was able to secure employment as a migrant worker and began sending the family a small stipend. About 10 months ago, our workers noticed that Yao’s arms were bruised. Assuming that the bruises resulted from normal kids’ play, the issue was set aside for the time being. When the bruises persisted, our workers repeatedly asked Yao’s parents to bring him to the doctor. Yao was quickly diagnosed with a dangerously low platelet count and hospitalized for 13 days for the first of two rounds of treatment, for which his parents had to borrow money to pay out of pocket.
While his health improved significantly, Yao is waiting to receive a second round of treatment and unfortunately, his family does not have the necessary funds. Our workers are now working with the family to see if the treatment can be financed by the government. Yao’s mom has been so worried that she lost 12 pounds in one month. Our workers have listened to her concerns intently and encouraged her to take care of herself so she will have enough strength to continue to care for Yao.
This example illustrates the complexities of providing care to children living with HIV/AIDS. In reality, care extends much beyond a pill counting chart. It requires attention to detail like noticing bruises on a child’s arm, patience to listen to the parents’ worries with empathy and problem-solving skills to help the parents resolve challenges. The family situation is completely different for each child and, in turn, our workers tailor their approach to ensure that each PATS child gets the care and support they need and deserve.
To help PATS in our endeavor to provide children like Yao with a brighter future, please consider sponsorship. Visit www.patskids.org for more information.
Check out the many other ways to engage with PATS:
Thanks for your continued support!
As Chinese New Year rolls around, it's time to give thanks for all of you, our GlobalGiving supporters, and provide you some great stats on the impact PATS is making with your help. No matter what size gift you give us, it all helps the children in a big way.
- We welcomed 2 new kids from Funan. Those two children were recommended to us from their doctors, who are also the ones for the current PATS children, suggesting that the doctors firmly believe in the PATS model.
- We have a total of 43 children now. 3 PATS "children" have left the program because they have moved away from the region and are currently working in coastal cities.
- PATS currently supports 7 full time community health workers.
- AOS, our local partner, is expanding into GuangXi province, where there is a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic from drug trade with neighboring Southeast Asian countries. While PATS would love to expand with AOS, we still have a firm conviction that we need to make sure we are able to sustain a level of funding that can support children in the PATS program. Expanding into Guangxi will mean a significant increase in funding needs.
- PATS has a Chinese New Year event (2nd year in a row) partnering with Shady Hill School in Cambridge,MA to raise awareness and celebrate Chinese New Year with local middle school students. If you are in the area, please join us in the festivities!
- One sustained Global Giving donor has become a Sponsor to sponsor a child (if you are a regular supporter, you can do this easily too. Just use the monthly recurring tab when making a donation).
- PATS raised almost $3,000 from our GlobalGiving supporters in Q4 of 2011, including the matching gift day on October 19th. This covers the needs of more than 3 of the children for an entire year. The needs don't end there, though, so please continue to support these children so they can live happy, healthy childhoods.
From all of us at PATS, have a happy, healthy, and wonderful New Year!
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