At the New Life Center in Kathmandu, 88 HIV-infected children – half-younger than five – last year received not only treatment and medical care, but also psychological counseling and an appropriate diet. Center staff also took the children on outings and celebrated holidays and festivals to make certain that joy was a part of their lives. New Life Center has treated 400 children and educated 356 mothers since Nepal Youth Foundation began the program in 2006.
While 65 children were returned home in stable health, readmission is very high because the children’s health often deteriorates rapidly once they return to homes without appropriate living conditions or nutritious food.
To help families take care of their children, counselors educate mothers and caretakers in a series of 48 sessions on nutrition and reproductive health. They also offer guidance on caring for their infected children once they returned home.
This comprehensive care model is a key to the Center’s success. Most children arrive with full-blown AIDS, including illnesses such as tuberculosis, malnutrition, and hepatitis, and return home with only HIV, ready to go to school and enjoy a happy childhood. If kids with HIV live hygienically, eat a nutritious diet, and try to avoid infections, they can typically expect to lead full and meaningful lives for around 25 years. By that time, it’s likely that additional treatments will be available to extend their lives even further. Most of the children don’t even need to take anti-retroviral drugs, which are difficult for people in rural and remote areas to obtain.
The New Life Center’s staff strives to find innovative ways to improve the livelihoods of their patients. For example, they planted a small vegetable garden and formed a partnership with Heifer International which contributed a few cows. These provide nutritious organic vegetables and fresh milk to the mothers and children at the Center.
Thank you for supporting these vulnerable children.
While HIV-AIDS affected children at New Life Center in Kathmandu receive care and medical treatment, their mothers and caregivers are educated on how to better care of them once they return home.
Mothers at the center last year received 48 sessions of training, covering everything from nutrition to reproductive health. They also learned skills to take home once their children were well enough to leave the center.
Last year, 88 children – half-younger than five – received medical care as well as psychological counseling and a nutritious diet.
“The mothers are happy,” said NYF’s President Som Paneru. “They feel very comfortable here because they are not stigmatized here. And after living here for three months, their child gets healthy. You don’t believe looking in their eyes that this child is carrying HIV aids.Our aim is to provide them with a comfortable life as long as they live.”
New Life Center is the only such home in Nepal that offers a holistic approach to caring for children affected with HIV-AIDS.
Thank you supporting these vulnerable children.
Living with the complicated regimes of antiretroviral treatments is a challenge for anyone affected by HIV-AIDS. For the impoverished HIV-infected children in Nepal, the expensive treatment can be simply out of reach.
At the New Life Center in Kathmandu, 88 children – half-younger than five – last year received not only treatment and medical care, but also psychological counseling and an appropriate diet. Center staff also took the children on outings and celebrated holidays and festivals to make certain that joy was a part of their lives. New Life Center has treated 400 children and educated 356 mothers since Nepal Youth Foundation began the program in 2006.
Some children do not have a home to return to. Four children at the center last year lost their parents to AIDS. Since it is a transitional center, staff found permanent homes for them. Our staff reports that they are adjusting well and have made many new friends.
HIV/AIDS is a rapidly growing problem in Nepal, fueled by ignorance about HIV prevention and brutal discrimination against people with AIDS. Many children with HIV are forced to leave their schools, and infected women are often abandoned by their husbands. Because of this stigma, many people avoid being tested and hide their symptoms of AIDS for as long as possible. According to a U.N. study, more than 80% of Nepalis with HIV have not been diagnosed.
New Life Center offers what its name promises – a new start for the 88 children with HIV/AIDS and their caretakers who were treated at the center in 2012-2013. The program provides lifesaving treatment to children while teaching their caretakers, most of whom also have HIV, to live hygienically and cook nutritious meals. This training dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring the illnesses that make HIV develop into AIDS, and lets infected people lead fulfilling lives. During the months that children and their guardians spend there, they receive food, housing, and all medical treatment for free.
Opened in 2006, the center can house 18 children and their caretakers for several months. Last year, the center admitted 79 new children – 43 boys and 36 girls, in addition to 9 children who remained from the previous year. More than half of these children were under the age of 5.
It is the only facility in Nepal that uses a comprehensive, holistic approach to helping HIV-positive children. Its nurses, nutritionist, doctor, and other staff provide:
For the children: education and enriching activities
For their caretakers: training in nutrition, health, literacy, and income generation
For both: nutritious meals, 24-hour medical care, and counseling to improve their self-confidence and help them manage the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
Most children who are admitted to the Center suffer from health problems such as malnutrition and tuberculosis. Rather than only treating their symptoms, the Center implements a three-pronged approach consisting of clinical therapy, nutritional therapy, and psychological therapy. While the nurses treat the patients’ health issues and give anti-retroviral drugs to reduce the effects of HIV infection, the professional nutritionist and cook plan and prepare healthy, well-rounded meals. Professional psychological counselors help the children and their guardians learn to live with the stigma of HIV/AIDS and improve their self-esteem.
The nurses and nutritionist complement the treatment with a series of educational programs for the caretakers. The topics include nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, the dietary needs of children of different ages, reproductive health, and illnesses that commonly afflict people with HIV. This training enables the parents to avoid many of the diseases that are particularly dangerous to HIV-positive people and to eat a balanced diet using inexpensive, locally available foods to keep themselves and their children as healthy as possible. The children also participate in enrichment activities such as celebrating Nepali festivals and taking trips to the zoo.
After several months, when the patients’ health problems have been alleviated and the caretakers are fully trained, they return to their homes.
Some children have no homes to return to. Last year, four children were orphaned after their parents died of AIDS and were moved to another facility that provides long term care. These children have made friends and are adjusting well to their new home.
Many live productive lives for years by practicing what they learned at the New Life Center. If they need additional treatment or if their health worsens, they can return to the Center for free follow-up care at any time.
The Center’s staff has taken initiative to raise money for the program. In addition to requesting donations from visitors and supporters, they print and sell t-shirts and note cards. They formed a partnership with Heifer International, which contributed two cows, who are a source of fresh milk to nourish the children and sell for additional income.
The Nepal Youth Foundation is excited to unveil our new website! Please take a look and let us know what you think.
Impoverished Children Celebrate Dashain
Dashain is the biggest and most important Hindu festival in Nepal (over 80% of Nepalis are Hindu). During this 15-day celebration, people all over Nepal make ritual offerings to the goddess Durga and receive tika. Tika is a paste made from a red dye, yoghurt, and rice. Elders generally apply it to the forehead as part of a blessing. People from all over Nepal, and Nepalis from all over the world, return home to celebrate with their families.
Dashain can be a particularly difficult time for children living with HIV/AIDS, since many of them have been abandoned and stigmatized. The Nepal Youth Foundation believes that children have a right to a happy childhood and to take part in their cultural traditions. The NYF and the New Life Center form a new family with the patients, allowing HIV/AIDS-positive children to reclaim their childhood.
HIV/AIDS in Nepal
Even though national and international efforts to combat the spread of HIV have blunted the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a recent estimate shows that over 50,000 Nepalis currently are living with HIV/AIDS. Those who are infected face stigmatization and discrimination. Children who contract HIV/AIDS are forced from their schools while women may be abandoned by their husbands and families. This stigma leads many to not seek testing and attempt to hide their symptoms. The U.N. has estimated that more than 80% of Nepalis with HIV have not been diagnosed.
Thanks to generous donors like you, the Nepal Youth Foundation has paved the way in caring for children with HIV/AIDS. Children with HIV/AIDS come to our New Life Center suffering from malnutrition and opportunistic infections. The New Life Center provides them with vital medical treatment while educating their caretakers, most of whom are also have HIV/AIDS, about living hygienically and cooking nutritious meals. This training helps them to lead fulfilling lives and reduces the risk of developing the diseases that can make HIV develop into AIDS. During the time spent at the New Life Center, the children and their caretakers receive, free of cost, lifesaving medical treatment, food, and housing.
During the nearly seven years it has been open, the New Life Center has served more than 140 HIV-positive children. These children are able to live the happy childhoods that HIV/AIDS would take from them. Last year, 70 children were helped, while their mothers joined a series of classes taught by NYF nurses and dietician to learn about nutrition, health, and home-based care of their HIV-positive children.
The New Life Center can house 18 children and their guardians, who live there for several months. It is the only facility in Nepal that provides comprehensive and holistic care for children with HIV/AIDS.
In addition to malnutrition, children admitted to the New Life Center also suffer from opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis. Instead of just treating their symptoms, the Center uses an innovative, three-pronged approach of clinical, nutritional, and psychological therapy. On the clinical front, patients receive anti-retroviral drugs to combat the HIV virus. Additionally, their other infections are treated. Second, a nutritionist plans complete, well-balanced diets. Finally, professional counselors work with the children and their parents to boost their self-esteem and cope with the stigma of living with HIV/AIDS.
To help the children and their caretakers live healthy lives after leaving the Center, the caretakers attend training sessions to learn about nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, the children's dietary needs, reproductive health, and illnesses that people with HIV/AIDS commonly contract. The goal is for the caretakers to be able to keep their children, and themselves, as healthy as possible by avoiding dangerous diseases and eating well-rounded meals using inexpensive, locally available food. For their part, the children participate in a number of enrichment activities, such as celebrating Nepali festivals and visiting the zoo.
After several months the patients' health problems have been alleviated, and their caretakers have been fully trained, they are healthy enough to return home. Many are able to live productive lives for years by practicing what they learned at the New Life Center. If their health worsens and they need additional treatment, which can sadly happen with HIV/AIDS patients, they can return to the Center for free follow-up care. The program truly gives new life to children living with HIV/AIDS.
Funding for the New Life Center comes from a variety of sources. In addition to donations, the Center's staff has taken the initiative to raise money from a number of sources. They print and sell t-shirts and postcards, and even have made use of two donated cows. The cows are a source of nourishing fresh milk for the children, and excess milk can also be sold to generate additional income.
The New Life Center’s comprehensive care model is a key to its success. Many children arrive at the Center with full-blown AIDS, including illnesses like tuberculosis, malnutrition, and hepatitis, and return home with only HIV, ready to go to school and enjoy a happy childhood. If children with HIV live hygienically, eat a nutritious diet, and try to avoid infections, they can typically expect to lead full and meaningful lives for around 25 years. By that time, it is likely that additional treatments will be available to extend their lives even further.
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