Thank you for working with us to prevent new HIV infections and provide a package of life saving health care services to 350 HIV+ orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. Today we would like you to meet one of the children who have benefitted from your support over the past year.
Meet our hero: Mary (not her real name), who is 8 years old, lost her dad to TB when she was five years old and lives with her mom and older sister, in a one room home. Her mother works as a casual worker at a tobacco factory and can barely afford two meals in a day. In 2010, when she was a year old, she was discovered to be HIV+ when she was admitted to a hospital for a cut in her left hand. She was put on medication the same day as her CD4 count was very low. Mary's mom learned about our pediatric HIV care program while one of our health care workers was visiting a child in her neighborhood. Mary enrolled in May 2016; her mom received training in caring for an HIV+ child and in prevention of HIV; and she receives food, medicines, regular health check-ups, and psychosocial counselling. The family now eats 3 meals a day as compared to 1-2 meals before enrollment.
For the past year, Mary has had no major health complaints, and her health has stabilized as measured by a sustained increase in her weight and CD4 count. She is studying in grade two, and was ranked number one in her grade last term. In addition, she participates enthusiastically in educational games and activities with her peers.
Impact: Mary's mom says that our pediatric HIV care program has helped them significantly by providing them with nutritional support, medical care, counselling, ongoing training, and malaria bed nets. In addition, she appreciates the skills she learned during the training in HIV care and prevention. She is grateful for the program and says that the program should continue with its excellent work. When asked about suggestions for improvement she said she would like additional support for school expenses.
Over the past few years, we are seeing a reduced incidence of HIV in our community, improved health of children, and fewer missed days from school due to poor health. We attribute these successes to the comprehensive package of services provided for children and their family members.
Thanks for giving the gift of health and well-being to hundreds of children like Mary. Your support is helping keep hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children healthy and in school.