POL Posts: Blogs, Reports & Updates
November 1, 2013

From the Field: An Update on our Pediatric HIV Care Program in Zambia

Power of Love's pediatric HIV care program continues to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV, AIDS, and malaria in Zambia. The vision behind this program is to strengthen women and grandmothers so they can take care of their children and sick family members at home. We do this by providing food, medicine, and a package of life-saving healthcare services to HIV positive children, as well as training the caregivers of HIV positive children in caring for these children at home.

From the Field 

Our Project Nurse sent us an update on the health of the 200 children in our program. For an HIV positive child, we use 3 indicators of an improvement in health: weight, CD4 count, and opportunistic infections. Out of a total of 200 children, only three children lost weight or had lower CD4 counts - the remaining children either maintained or increased their weight/CD4 counts. There was a marked decline in the frequency of opportunistic infections in Sept. 2013 as compared to Jan. 2013. Additionally, as a result of the provision of soya supplement to about 100 malnourished children, none of the children in our program were malnourished as of Sept 2013. Finally, all but one child on ARVs are adhering to their medications.

To sum, the health of all but three children has been stable or improving since Jan 2013. The improved health of the children has also increased their school attendance and performance.

Our Philosophy

We believe that our model of care, with its philosophy of “everyone a caregiver,” provides the best model of care for an HIV positive child for several reasons. Firstly, we believe that the home environment is best for a child's normal development. Many of the healthcare services required by an HIV positive child can be provided at home by a trained family member, and at much lower costs than at an institution. Secondly, there are not enough resources to build institutions for all HIV positive children. Finally, training family members to care for an HIV positive child leads to a better understanding and prevention of HIV and AIDS in the community. The ripple effect of this approach is huge and long-lasting in the community.

In addition, we strongly believe that in a resource constrained environment our services should be complementary and not competitive to those provided by the government clinics, with the common goal of improving the quality of life of children in the community. As a result, we work closely with the government clinics in Zambia to maximize the impact of each dollar of funds.

Impact

Our program impacts 200 children and their families directly, with an additional 1200 children affected indirectly as the family members share their knowledge of caring for an HIV positive child with others in the community. The children would like to thank you (with a short video) for your continued support for this program. Your support and donations will provide much needed food, medicine, and healthcare services to several hundred children in the Matero community of Lusaka, Zambia, and help them stay healthy and in school. We could not have done this without you.

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