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HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland

by Kudvumisa Foundation USA Inc
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HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
HIV Care for 5000 children/caregivers in Swaziland
Gogo rejoicing that she was able to receive a food
Gogo rejoicing that she was able to receive a food

At 76, gogo (grandmother) Chazekile has only her daughter to take care of her. But her daughter is not working and stays at her marital home though her husband passed away some years back. So, her daughter is in no place to help her either. She did receive help in the past as a home was built for her by an MP (Member of Parliament) and she receives the old age social grant from government. But the grant has been delayed for three months and was barely enough to survive on when it did come.

Gogo takes care of a neighbor’s little child who is epileptic in exchange for small amounts of food.

Kudvumisa was able to step in in to help her with basic food stuffs to help her tide over until the government social grant is actually paid. Donors make it possible for our medical outreach staff to identify those most vulnerable and needing emergency nutritional help. Basic nutrition helps the vulnerable fend of disease and infections.

Gogo Chazekile shares what she has with the even more vulnerable. We’re thankful we can step in and help her in these precarious times where the Corona virus has made a desperate situation even worse.

Sabelo talking with Gogo
Sabelo talking with Gogo

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Kudvumisa Nurse at the clinic
Kudvumisa Nurse at the clinic

The last couple of months globally have been turned upside down as we learn how to live with COVID-19 in our communities.

Here in Eswatini (Swaziland) we have been through a couple months of borders closed (borders are closed between USA/South Africa, South Africa/eSwatini and Eswatini/Mozambique), and partial locking down the country trying to keep the spread low to assist our already strained healthcare system. Our partial-lock down has been extended through June in an effort to minimize the spread. Currently we are just over 230 national COVID-19 cases with only 2 deaths.

Having placed all new COVID-19 precautions into practice at the clinic, we continue medical outreach to our communities that are vulnerable and isolated! Our hope is that by helping the communities to stay home and out of the health facilities, public transport, and town for their HIV treatment, blood pressure medications, or basis health ailments, we help limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19 that has spiked within the towns.

Your monthly donations help us to continue to provide healthcare to the people within their communities. Our communities we serve in the north eastern region of eSwatini has yet to have a COVID-19 out break and we hope to do all we can to promote health wherever we go!

Our Nurse Coordinator in the clinic pharmacy
Our Nurse Coordinator in the clinic pharmacy
Mobile clinics getting ready to leave for the day
Mobile clinics getting ready to leave for the day

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Dr. Lara examines a newborn at a homestead
Dr. Lara examines a newborn at a homestead

Kudvumisa Foundation has twelve people on its staff (the Directors are volunteers) of which six are on the medical team proper. The team comprises two qualified nurses and four phlebotomists. This medical staff is doing a fantastic job going out into the communities on a daily basis to treat patients. Dubbed CHIPS, an acronym for Community Health Intervention Program for eSwatini the team offers HIV testing, ART initiation and refills and attend to general health complaints from its clients.

Although CHIPS goes into the communities every day the medical needs of the villagers are so huge and it’s nearly impossible to cover every inch of the region, let alone attend to all complaints at one goal.

If the organization was well funded the solution was to increase the staff by bringing in more nurses etc. But because Kudvumisa runs on a shoestring budget it then relies on volunteer medical outreach teams that come from the US and other countries to assist in providing medical care in the communities as well as do HIV testing in the rural communities.

In 2019 Kudvumisa was privileged to have at four medical teams visit the Lubombo region to do clinics in the communities. In most areas the response was very overwhelming with an average of 150 patients being attended to per day. The outreach clinics offered general consultations, pharmacy, HIV testing and counselling, pastoral care as well as reading glasses.

Not only did the visiting teams do clinics, they also took the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with the local staff; something that has helped improve the quality of service Kudvumisa offers to its clients.

Speaking of the visiting teams, Teresa Rehmeyer, the medical director of Kudvumisa said, “We are grateful for the tremendous support we have received from the visiting medical teams. This year we have a number of teams scheduled to visit our communities. We look forward to a year where we will be able to reach more people.”

Regarding the lean staff on the medical department, she said, “We would want to have more nurses on board but our budget limits us. We continue to appeal for sponsorship in this area. Even if its supporting a single nurse for a year, that will go a long way in helping us reach more people in the poor communities we work in.”

So far two medical teams from US have confirmed that they will be coming to work with Kudvumisa this year. One is scheduled for end of May 2020 and the other in August. Judging by the number of people that attend the outreach clinics it is clear that there is a huge in terms of the service being provided currently. Therefore you can help by praying for us and also consider joining a team that is coming for an outreach. If you are unable to visit eSwatini don’t feel left out, you can still make your impact felt in the lives of the less privileged by giving a thought to making a once-off contribution or committing to the monthly option.

An "under the tent" community clinic
An "under the tent" community clinic
Staff training on Trauma Healing
Staff training on Trauma Healing

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Pastor Bheki with one of the beneficiaries
Pastor Bheki with one of the beneficiaries

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), good nutrition, defined as an adequate and well-balanced diet, is the mainstay of good health. On the other hand, WHO warns that poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity to diseases and increase vulnerability to infections. And it is on this basis that the Kudvumisa Foundation was recently in the communities of Maphiveni, Shewula and Vuvulane Section 19 to distribute food hampers to patients.

 

Kudvumisa, through its Community Health Intervention Program for eSwatini (CHIPS) works in the remote areas of Lubombo(eSwatini) where the majority of people are very poor living far below the poverty datum line. The situation for many is so dire to the extent that there is no guarantee for the next meal. And if one is lucky to get a meal it is hardly a balanced diet but just something to ensure survival.

 

Now when you combine poor nutrition, poor health and lack of medication the situation becomes quite dreadful for the patient. But thanks to CHIPS and its partners the people of Lubombo have access to good health care despite living in marginalized and difficult to reach villages. With the medical challenges taken care of by CHIPS it is the lack of a good diet that tends to slow down the patient progress towards regaining their full fitness.

 

In September together with their partners, Kudvumisa visited three communities and donated food packs to seven struggling families. Some of the beneficiaries happen to be CHIPS’ patients while others are people that the team found bedridden and unable to help themselves.  The hampers valued at about $USD15.00 each included beans, maize meal, bread, fish, sugar, tea leaves, candles, matches, soap, cooking oil, soup powder and salt.

 

According to Pastor Bheki from CHIPS' pastoral care unit, the gesture was well received by the patients and care givers. He highlighted that the beneficiaries are very grateful to Kudvumisa and its partners for coming to their rescue at a time when they were famishing with no one to cry to. Pastor Bheki also emphasized that the food packs will go a long way in helping the patients in their nutrition requirements. “Some recipients are HIV positive while some are suffering from other illnesses. The food parcels will help address the challenge of malnutrition because most these people have no source of income.”

 

In addition to the groceries, the patients received a blanket each, a gift that will go a long way in helping them keep warm in Eswatini’s volatile weather patterns where night temperatures can plummet to below 50°F.

Pastor Bheki handing over food to a patient
Pastor Bheki handing over food to a patient
One of the patients receiving a blanket
One of the patients receiving a blanket

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The Kudvumisa Foundation Has Been Lauded For Its Holistic Approach To Patient Care.

Kudvumisa, through its Community Health Initiative Program for eSwatini (CHIPS) operates in the Lubombo region of eSwatini formerly Swaziland. CHIPS uses mobile clinics to go into the hard to reach and isolated rural communities of Lubombo to conduct HIV tests among other activities.

But it doesn’t end there; the organization after giving a patient a positive result goes further to initiate them on ART treatment. After starting a patient on ART drugs the organization  goes a step further in making a follow up to see if the person is adhering to treatment or not. Furthermore, depending on the patient’s condition at any phase of treatment, CHIPS provides free transport for its clients to the nearest referral hospital, Good Shepherd Hospital which is some 50 odd km away from its Maphiveni station.

Speaking soon after conducting a training session on human trafficking at Maphiveni, the director for HopeAlive268, Lynda Hetrick Arroyo, commended Kudvumisa for its comprehensive approach to medical care for its patients.

“What separates them (Kudvumisa) from many organizations is that they are the true hands and feet of Jesus. They are doing the testing, doing the follow-up and sharing the love of Jesus which makes an incredible difference,” reiterated Lynda. “You are not just out there to give someone a positive to HIV test and leave them which leaves the people devastated. But you are making a follow up to make sure they are taking their ARVs and investing into the people’s lives.”

Kudvumisa’s unique but comprehensive approach to HIV treatment does not only focus on the patient’s health but also their economic situation. Because the majority of residents of the region are in living depressing poverty and their homes are not easy to reach due to poor roads many people are unable to get to the nearest health center. This is the gap that CHIPS is filling as they make forays into the communities to provide medical assistance. “This is a totally different concept to that being provided by other humanitarian organizations,” added Lynda.

Commenting on why Kudvumisa adopted this approach, Teresa Rehmeyer, Kudvumisa’s medical director said :“Because other organizations would just come and test and leave people with a positive HIV result it was like a death sentence in itself without helping to connect them to the much needed care and treatment. So after studying the situation, we decided to come in and fill in that void.”

Because of its approach Kudvumisa has won many hearts as patients feel loved and cared for. However, in order for Kudvumisa to continue running the mobile clinic and stock drugs there is a continuous need for funding. To date the organization has relied heavily upon individuals that give on a regular basis to this worthwhile cause. If you would like to know more about Kudvumisa’s activities please visit the website Kudvumisa Foundation.  

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Organization Information

Kudvumisa Foundation USA Inc

Location: Glenmoore, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Kudvumisa
Project Leader:
Daran Rehmeyer
Glenmoore, PA United States
$33,780 raised of $100,000 goal
 
277 donations
$66,220 to go
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