A Conversation with one of the girls in our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program in Zambia
We would like to wish our friends and supporters a Very Happy and Peaceful New Year. With encouragement and support from you, we have been able continue to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. To learn more visit http://www.poweroflove.org/programs-children.
In the fall of 2012, our Nurse had the following conversation with one of the girls in our program. Her name is Precious, this conversation took place between our Nurse and her after she was was informed by her mom about her HIV positive status. Precious is 13 years old and would like to become a Nurse.
Nurse (N): How did you feel when you came to know of your HIV positive status?
Precious (P): Nothing, because at school we learn about HIV/AIDS. I accepted my status because even my mother has HIV.
N: Apart from your mother, who else knows or who have you told about your HIV status?
P: My uncle and Aunt know that I have HIV but I don’t know if my father knows because my parents are divorced.
N: Do you go to school?
N: Tell me more about school
P: I am in grade 6 at Tukiya Private School, although I could have been in grade 8. I had TB and this caused me to stay out of school for one year.
N: What time do you take your ARVs?
P: I take them at 7 in the morning and 7 in the evening.
N: Have you ever missed any medication from the time you started?
P: No, I have an alarm clock.
N: Let’s talk more about school. What subjects do you like most?
P: English, Creative and technology Studies, Social and development studies, Science and Mathematics.
N: Did you pass last term?
P: I have not yet collected my results; we will collect them next week on Friday. I want to become a Nurse and I will bring my results at your office.
N: Is there anything that you would like me to know?
P: Nothing, except that I am very happy that you visit me and you come any time.
P: Is there anything that you would like us to do for you?
N: No, you are doing enough. You visit me every week, and last week you gave my mother mealie meal and beans. I think this is too much.
N: I am very happy to know that you take medication on your own, and that you have not missed any medication. Please continue to do so and I will see you on Saturday at the safe park. Thank you
Precious is enrolled in our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program that provides food, medicines, and a package of life saving health care services to 200 HIV positive children. The package of health care services includes weekly health check-ups from Community Health worker/Nurse, psychosocial counseling, adherence monitoring and training, and education in prevention of HIV for older children. In addition, we provide ongoing training to family members (most are grandmothers) in caring for an HIV positive child. This program benefits 200 children and their families directly and an additional 1100 children indirectly as family members trained in HIV/AIDS care become role models for others in the community. To date, over 450 women have been trained. Also, in the last seven years, we have had 323 children go through our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program but lost eleven children to AIDS. Statistically, we could have lost 50 children or more as life expectancy of an HIV positive child is just five years at birth. More importantly most of the children are back in school. To read more click here.
Cost of this program: It costs approximately 0.75 cents per day per child or about $55,000 per year to provide food, medicines and the package of life saving healthcare services to all 200 HIV positive children. We will be happy to provide an itemized break up of costs upon request.
At present, out of the 200 children, 126 children are on ARV medication and our program provides them with much needed continuous care. As a result of this continuous quality care:
(i) all children (except two), have either maintained or gained weight since January 2012. A stable or increased weight is an indication of stable health and is remarkable given the HIV positive status of the children and especially so since 63% are on ARV's.
(ii) We provide adherence training and monitoring for older children who are aware of their status. At this time, all children who are aware of their status are adhering well to their ARV regimen.
(iii) As a result of better nutrition and health, all children eligible for school are in school and learning.
To sum: This program has increased survival rates, reduced malnutrition, and lowered the frequency of opportunistic infections, leading to systemic and long term improvement in health and attendance for the children.
Funding Requirements for 2013
At this time, we are raising funds to continue to:
1. Provide food, medicines, and a package life-saving health care services to all 200 children in our program,
2. Train an additional 100 caregivers/grandmothers in caring for an HIV positive child.
3. Test caregivers of the children in our program for cervical cancer and breast cancer screening.
4. Continue the HIV “testing and prevention” program for caregivers so that our model continues to be comprehensive with elements of prevention, treatment, care for HIV.
5. Continue to provide school expenses for children whose parents need this support.
6. Continue the “Safe Parks” developmental program.
Please donate generously to this program so that all 200 children can continue to lead healthy and close to normal lives, and be back in school and learning.