Need for a Comprehensive HIV Care Program
About Zambia and its children: Zambia is a democratic country, rich in mineral resources and a young population (53% of its population is under the age of 18 with a median age of 17 years). The country has made significant progress in reducing vertical transmission of HIV as over 90% of pregnant women are on treatment. However, 59% of children live in poor households with 45% living in extreme poverty, and 35% of children under five have stunted growth. In addition, most of its estimated one million orphans live with grandmothers/extended family who have little knowledge of HIV and no source of income. The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated this situation. Zambia, and many other countries in Africa, are not on track to achieve the good healthcare and zero hunger goals (#2 and 3) of UN’s sustainable development goals for 2030. There is an immediate need to prioritize food security and healthcare needs.
Pediatric HIV Care
Power of Love’s pediatric HIV care program provides food, medicines, and a comprehensive package of health care services to 500 children living with HIV in resource poor neighborhoods in Lusaka, Zambia. A few program activities completed this year are given below:
- Added 50 new children to bring the total to 500 HIV+ children. Family members of the new children received training in hygiene and basic nursing.
- All children and their families were provided with education on COVID, and PPE.
- All 500 HIV+ children enrolled receive food, medicines and a comprehensive package of life saving health care services. All are stable and/or improving in health.
- 229 children were provided with funds for school expenses such as fees, uniforms, shoes, and book bags in 2021, as compared to 156 children in 2020.
- Pregnant women received education in elimination of vertical transmission of HIV.
- All families received long lasting insecticide treated bed nets to prevent malaria.
- All families received clean cooking stoves and information on how to use these stoves. These clean cooking stoves are environmentally friendly, generate less smoke, use less fuel, and cook food faster. This has resulted in savings in fule costs, and an improvement in health due to reduced smoke inhalation.
- COVID education workshops launched last year have benefitted more than 1,100 children to date.
Impact: These program activities have set off a chain reaction of positive outcomes. For example, better nutrition and health enables children to miss fewer days at school, and for adults to have a more stable source of income. Improved knowledge regarding HIV care and prevention results in more people getting tested leading to HIV prevention. Going forward our plan is to further expand the program, increase the skills levels of community members, and provide education that is climate adaptive. The goal of all program activities is to build self-reliance in families and more sustainable communities.
Thanks for giving the gift of health and education to orphans and vulnerable children.