With your generous support, we continue to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. Our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program benefits 200 HIV positive children directly, and an additional 1200 children indirectly as our trained caregivers share their learning with others in the community.
Training in HIV Care Provided to Caregivers of HIV+ Children
In November 2014, 29 new children were enrolled ( to replace the children who graduated as they turned 18 years old) in our pediatric HIV care program. This program provides food, medicines, and a package of life saving health care services to 200 HIV positive children and training in caring for an HIV positive child to caregivers. Training provided to caregivers ensures that the HIV+ child is under the care of a trained caregiver 24/7 and a result, caregivers with the help of our community health workers, are able to take better care of the children. The health of the children improves due to fewer opportunistic infections and the prevention of infections from turning into more serious illnesses.
Training Program: The caregivers were trained in basic home nursing and psychosocial care of HIV+ children. The objectives of the training were:
- Develop capacity for effective, comprehensive care and treatment of HIV infected children. For example, teach: (i) simple yet effective responses to common conditions such as diarrhea, fever, malnutrition, and TB; (ii) good hygiene; (iii) how to administer and monitor anti-retroviral therapy; and (iv) how to recognize signs of HIV/AIDS.
- To build a support group by developing relationships with other members of the group.
- To build on their already existing skills in taking care of sick children.
- To be able to discuss freely about HIV and support each other.
- To help the staff in the monitoring and evaluation of both the processes and outcomes of this training.
- To better respond to the changing needs of the community.
- To gain knowledge on the prevention of malaria and use of treated mosquito nets.
- To learn about HIV/AIDS.
- Discussed the need to include sexual and health education for both girls and boys.
- The role of the family in the upbringing of children, stages and characteristics of adolescence, and the unique needs and challenges that they face.
- Teach the importance of vaccination and regular clinic visits for children less than five years of age.
- Importance of early screening for cervical and breast cancer.
In addition, there were several discussions on the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans. We discussed how the wellbeing of the whole family is affected by the social, economic and psychosocial consequences of HIV/AIDS. The participants were very interested in these discussions as most families have children who have been orphaned due to AIDS.
All 29 caregivers attended the seven day training with enthusiasm and asked several questions even though very few knew how to read and write. The training sessions were conducted in the local language and the methods used were mostly participatory and involved group work, storytelling and demonstrations. This made it easier for the participants to understand and learn.
To sum: The training was educative and our expectation is that it will be put to use by the caregivers on a daily basis. Since most of the caregivers are grandparents, it is important to refresh their memories regarding what they learnt during training. Hence, caregivers will continue to be educated during home visits by our community health workers.
At this time we are raising funds to add 50 new children to this program. Please donate generously so we can continue to provide quality health care to HIV positive children in Zambia. These services help improve the children’s health so they can stay in school, keep learning, and grow up to become contributing members of their community.
Thanks and happy New Year.