POL Posts: Blogs, Reports & Updates
July 16, 2014

Meet Two Children who Are Role Models

Thanks to your generous support, we have been able to continually expand our program to improve the lives of several hundred children and families impacted by HIV, AIDS, and malaria in Zambia. From weekly checkups to vital healthcare services, the children 200+ within our program receive the support they need to achieve stable health and attend school.

Today we would like you to meet two children who have been in our pediatric HIV program for 7-8 years. Mary and Jack (names changed) have showed exemplary growth since their enrollment in our pediatric HIV care program. Both children understand the importance of staying in school and enjoy their education, are adherent to their medication, regularly visit the clinic on their own, and are growing up to be responsible adults. As they approach graduation from our program, we hope they can be role models for the younger children receiving our care.

Mary, born in 1995, lives with her grandmother, mother, and five others in a small household. Before being enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program, Mary was afflicted by chronic headaches, coughs, ear problems, and an inability to gain weight. Due to her poor health, her grandmother brought her in for VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) in 2005. Mary tested positive for HIV and began antiretroviral treatment in 2006.

After a few months of medication, Mary’s health began to improve and she started to gain weight. Her grandmother attributes her turnaround in health to the food, medicine, and continuous health care services provided by our pediatric HIV care program. Mary is aware of her HIV positive status and maintains a positive outlook on life. She goes to the clinic on her own and adheres to her ARV regimen. She is currently in grade 11 and is performing well in school - she’s confident of finishing high school in 2015 and becoming a contributing member of her community.

Jack was also born in 1995 and lives with his grandmother, who oversees eight other family members. Like many children in the community, Jack lost both of his parents to HIV related illnesses in 2005 and 2006. Starting at age one, Jack was plagued by fever, malaria, diarrhea, and anemia, forcing him in and out of the hospital. In 2005, he tested positive for HIV with a CD4 count (a protein vital to immune systems) of just 250.

Despite starting his ARVs in 2006, Jack was the victim of frequent opportunistic infections. In 2007 he was enrolled in Within Arms’ Reach and has since experienced improvements in his health. His weight and CD4 count have risen steadily since his enrollment while his susceptibility to infections has fallen. Jack has come to terms with his HIV status and is striving to overcome it. He retrieves his medication from the government clinic on his own and manages his own regimen. Though he is behind in school for his age, he is catching up and is doing well in the classroom and at home.

We are raising funds to continue to care for and support children like Jack and Mary. You can find out more about how Within Arms’ Reach works here. Your continued donations help us achieve our goal of 100% HIV free births as well as supporting our 200+ children to stay healthy and in school.

As always, 100% of donations go directly towards our programs; no part is diverted to overheads. Thank you for your caring and support.

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