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May 26, 2020

Lockdown and beyond

Covid-19 has impacted and complicated the situation for people living with HIV in Nepal.

Just before Nepal went into lockdown the AIDSLink team were able to give basic hygiene advice to clients, such as showing them how to properly wash their hands.

Although the team are now restricted in their movements, they have been able to deliver food to 22 families (64 people) in Kathmandu, but they cannot go outside the city. They have been helping people around the country as best they can with counselling over the phone.

When the lockdown started there were still a few people staying at the care centre, mainly hospital outpatients who were starting HIV treatment. They have since been able to get to their homes. One lady who was pregnant received help and gave birth to a healthy baby.

In Nepal, 18,555 people are taking antiretroviral treatment (HIV medicine). There are now 80 distribution centres. But many will not go to their local centre because of issues of confidentiality - the fear of stigma and shame are greater than the fear of death and disease.

Lockdown has made it hard for them to get to local centres anyway (which, although classed as local may be a distance away), so, many people already had a short supply. Then, medication became unavailable, probably due to the lockdown in India and the closed border.

However, we are delighted that in the last few days medication has become available again and is being delivered to those in rural areas. But, some people have already missed treatment or taken it irregularly, which can have consequences.

We expect the care centre to become very busy after the lockdown and this will stretch our capacity. We really appreciate those of you who stand with us financially, we need your ongoing partnership to ride this present storm and continue to help people into the future.

Mar 21, 2020

Russian manual translation completed

We are thrilled that we have completed the new, updated translation of the Russian training material. This project has been ongoing for well over a year. This means that we can resume training in Russian speaking countries with the latest material.

It was a huge thrill to read the comments of the translators, who all have a medical background.

• This is incredible material and just a fantastic concept!
• The situation with HIV in our region is totally terrible. It is not publicly discussed.
• Your therms about stigma and discrimination are key to what is going on here.
• This book completely changed our understanding of advocacy. These ideas are just amazing!
• Thank you for such a great and fantastic work that you do for the world!

Of course, the situation with the Coronavirus is making it hard to plan upcoming trainings. We have one scheduled for S. E. Asia in July and hope it can go ahead, but realise that we cannot take any risks and it may have to be postponed.

At this stage we are making contingency plans and holding our plans and desires with an open hand.

We are tentatively hoping to hold a Russian language training sometime after October, by then all the proofreading and type-setting of the manual should be completed.

We appreciate your continued support in these uncertain times. 

Mar 16, 2020

A little girl with a big smile

Tshiamo* started coming to Meetse a Bophelo early this year. Full of smiles, this tiny little girl who is HIV positive was brought by her confused mother who was full of despair and had no hope.

Though Tshiamo was shy at first, she now enjoys the safe environment at Meetse a Bophelo, where she’s fed good food and given a nutritious milkshake [Nucleo] before heading home. She also appreciates the help she gets with her schoolwork and the new friends, both children and adults, that she has made.

She is now gaining a little bit of weight and has a lot of energy to play while showing a joyful face which is so adorable.

We are so grateful and humbled by the impact the Nucleo supplement has in the lives of the children that are coming to our center helpless and hopeless, many with major weight loss. To seeing them gradually gaining weight as they use the supplements and get a good meal is priceless, as are the smiles on their faces. 

*Name changed

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