By Dickson Kasozi and Ponny Bukenya - Co-directors HVU
Background to OVC projects:
Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children is provided as per Mildmay OVC Core program areas. OVC support includes food and or/food security provided in accordance with the selection criteria prioritizing the severely malnourished. Using the Mildmay “circle of service providers’ model”, Mug partners with local Community-based Organizations as conduits for service delivery within target populations. HVU is supported by Mildmay to enrol HIV positive OVCs, provide OVCs with nutrition supplements on behalf of Mildmay Uganda facilitate the formation of service provider’s circles and extend Income Generating Activities (IGAs) to OVC and care givers. MUg also promotes the integration of OVC programs into other health services which include eMTCT, mental health, Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and maternal and child health (MCH).
1) Enrollment of Positive Children for Nutritional Support (August)
Nutritional assessment is done for all HIV positive clients and the clinically malnourished are provided with therapeutic or supplementary food. OVCs and their families are provided with nutritional food supplements.
In August HVU with support from 8 local volunteers conducted enrollment for HIV positive children and family at Kiganda Health center IV to plan for nutritional supplements distribution.
The exercise was done for one week and 80 index (HIV positive) children were registered and of these 48 were females and 32 were males.
In total 320 children were registered of which 80 were the index /HIV positive children and 240 were their siblings.
28 out of the 80 HIV positive children registered were between the ages of 14 and 17.
Transport: Mildmay does not support HVU with transport for mobilization and distribution of IGAs and monitoring. HVU operates in far hard to reach communities that are not so easy to access given the fact that HVU does not have a field truck. HVU has been trying to mobilize funds to buy a motor cycle or a truck but so far luck has not come our way.
Lack of incentives for local volunteers: HVU works with a team of volunteers in mobilizing individuals and communities and as well as during enrollment and distribution of supplies. Though volunteers do not work for a pay, there is need for them to be motivated through incentives such as transport refunds, lunch allowances and facilitation with communication (air time).
Inadequate Supplies: Despite the efforts by MUg to reach families/children infected with HIV with nutritional food supplies, many children and families infected with HIV in need nutritional food supplies are left out. More so a few who receive do not receive enough quantities and what they get hardly take them for two months. The supplies are not regular which are distributed once or twice in a year.
Lack of good internet connection. This hinders effective communication and timely reporting to project funders.
Mobilize for a field truck or a motor cycle: HVU will continue seeking support from friends and potential funders to see that we can buy a field truck and be able to overcome the transport problem once and for all.
About volunteers incentives; HVU will also continue to appeal to potential donors and well wishers to support us with minimal funds to facilitate our community mobilization efforts.
Need to have a more regular and well streamlined nutrition support program. There is need for HVU and partners to mobilize funds and put in place a well planned regular program to support HIV infected children and family with adequate nutritional supplements. In many case the food given is not a supplement and it the only food that families can afford to have because many families do not have other food supplies to supplement on.
Need for support with high speed internet connection so that there can be effective and timely communication.
HVU thanks Mildmay Uganda for her continued support to OVCs and HIV positive adults in our community of operation and we remain hopeful that Mildmay will mobilize funds in time and support the enrolled children with the much needed nutritional food supplements. HVU would also like to appeal to friends, well wishers and potential donors/funders to support us in many ways including publicity for our programs, mobilizing funds, technical advice, and donating supplies.
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