Can we combat climate change and poor health?: Recent studies conclude that the provision of food, clean energy, education, health, water, and sanitation can result in reducing both the impact of climate change and poverty while boosting human well-being. Accordingly, over the last 12 months our focus has been on monitoring the health of families, ensuring that children stay in school, and tracking graduates (children who are >18 years or completed high school) so they can be connected to vocational/university courses, and education for families. In addition, safe water filtration systems will be provided to families who do not have access to clean water. The goal of these program activities is family sustainability and self-reliance in taking care of their health.
Program impact: In 2022, 500 children living with HIV received a comprehensive package of health care services, 293 children received funds for school expenses, and family members received training in basic nursing and hygiene. In addition, all families receive long lasting insecticide treated nets, education on disease prevention, and counseling. As a result, most children are stable or improving in health, are well-adjusted to their HIV positive status, families are more self-reliant in taking care of their health, and children are in school. Given below is the story of one of the beneficiaries of this program.
Tom’s story: Tom (name changed), a 19-year-old boy, lost his father when he was just three years old. He lives with his mom who is living with HIV, an older brother who is HIV free, and three other family members. His mother works as a teacher, and they can afford three meals a day. Tom tested positive for HIV in 2004, started medication but continued to suffer from frequent fevers and painful sores in his mouth. In 2013, due to his poor health, his mom enrolled him in our pediatric HIV care program. After joining our program, Tom’s mom received training in caring for an HIV+ child, and Tom received food, medicines, regular health checkups, psychosocial counseling, education expenses, and training in adherence to HIV medication. As a result of close monitoring, counseling and other health care services, Tom’s health improved steadily, and his viral load is undetectable. Last year, Tom graduated from high school and is studying medicine at a University in Zambia. He is a role model and a mentor for younger children in our programs. Tom has proven that with adherence to medication, and a proper diet, HIV is not an obstacle to achieving one's goals and dreams.
Thanks for giving the gift of education and health to hundreds of children and their families in Zambia.