Bishnu Raidash -- One Child's Story
When HIV-infected 19-month-old Bishnu Raidash was admitted to the Nepal Youth Foundation's New Life Center (MSPN) in Kathmandu this year, he weighed 11 pounds (5kg), less than half of the normal North American child's weight at that age.
Bishnu was born in Lumbini, a town close to the Indian border which is considered to be the birthplace of Siddartha Gautama, founder of the Buddhist tradition. Unlike the Buddha, who was born to royalty, Bishnu was the youngest child born to an impoverished family with six other children. When Bishnu was three months old, his mother, Kislabati, became ill with fever and diarrhea. Finally seeking treatment at the regional hospital, Kislabati was diagnosed as HIV positive. Doctors advised her to stop breast feeding Bishnu. However, it was too late, and the baby had contracted the illness from her.
Kislabati died within the year, leaving her HIV-infected husband, Manodhar, to raise the children, two of whom were also HIV positive -- Bishnu and his 6-year-old brother.
By the time Bishnu was 10-months-old, his diet had become protein deficient, resulting in a condition of malnutrition known as Kwashiorkor. At 18 months of age, with his condition severely worsened, Bishnu was admitted to the government hospital where he stayed for two weeks as doctors stabilized his medical condition. However, government hospitals do not provide on-going nutritional care, so Bishnu was transferred to the New Life Center.
The New Life Center
NYF's New Life Center provides excellent lifesaving treatment to children with HIV/AIDS 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 at the Center, they receive food, housing, and all medical treatment for free.
Although the New Life Center occupies one relatively small building, since its inception in 2006, it has served hundreds children and trained their caretakers on health and nutrition. In addition, nutritional therapy is sometimes all that is necessary to renew these children to health without administration of antiviral drugs.
The rest of One Child's Story...
Bishnu stayed at the New Life Center for nearly two months. When he was released, he was a much healthier toddler weighing nearly 18 lbs (>8 kg). The effects of Kwashiorkor were minimized and Bishnu truly has a good chance of living a strong and long life.
Thanks to the support and funding of NYF's donors, Bishnu is alive today and the New Life Center continues to save the lives of similarly precious and deserving children of Nepal.
If you would like more information about our programs please visit us at www.nepalyouthfoundation.org. Thank you for your support. Follow this link to watch our new 4 minute video:http://bit.ly/uv6is2.
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