From the Field: An Update on our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program in Zambia

Power of Love's pediatric HIV/AIDS 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 that they can take care of their children and sick family members at home. We do this by providing food, medicines and a package of life saving health care services to HIV positive children, and training in caring for an HIV positive child to their caregivers.

Our Philosophy behind the pediatric HIV/AIDS care Program: 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. First, we believe that the home environment is best for a child's normal development. Second, many of the health care services needed by a HIV positive child can be provided at home by a trained family member supported by a trained health care assistant/ nurse at a much lower cost than in an institution. Third, there are not enough resources to build institutions for all HIV positive children. Finally, training family members in caring for an HIV positive child, leads to a better understanding and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the community. The ripple effect of this approach is huge and long lasting for 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 and health 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.

From the Field: Our Project Nurse sent us an update on the health of all 200 children in our program. For an HIV positive child, we can use 3-4 indicators of an improvement in health. These are 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 their weight/CD4 count or increased their weight/CD4 counts. Second, there was a decline in the frequency of opportunistic infections in Sept 2013, as compared to Jan 2013. Third, as a result of the provision of soya supplement to about 100 malnourished children, none of the children were malnourished in Sept 2013. Finally, all children (except one) on ARV’s are adhering well to their medications.

To sum, the health of all children (except 3) has been stable or improving since Jan 2013. The improved health of the children has also increased their school attendance and performance.

Impact: Our program impacts 200 children and their families directly and an additional 1200 children 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 (watch a short video) for your continued support for this program. Your support and donations will provide much needed food, medicines, and health care services to several hundred children in the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia, and help them stay healthy and in school. We could not have done this without you.