Feb 22, 2011

Who is to blame?

We are now in 2011, enjoying the benefits of free ARV treatment and
care. Thanks to the movements and the pressure groups, that has made
possible for better care of people and children living with HIV.
Children especially under the care of single parents, and from the
lower socio-economic strata are still a challenge and are neglected in care.

Like for instance currently we are faced with a 14 year old boy child in Namakkal district, is now resistant to TB drugs and ARV first line. In addition he is
malnourished and suffers with ulcers and seizures. Looking at his
condition, the medical doctor expressed that it is a shame that we have
brought this boy to this condition, especially when all the services
are free and easily accessible than any other illness.

With the services for HIV care available in all districts and taluks, why is this condition; On reflecting we could clearly see that

  • Treatment alone is not the remedy
  • Work with family and other members is crucial
  • Community engagement is necessary
  • Awareness on TB and HIV care has to be more easily understood by the community we work
  • Provide space for children to communicate and express themselves
    freely-if this was made available we could have known what he was
    actually going through
  • Doctors and counselors to be available to check on the adherence
  • Specialized group meetings for care takers to ventilate their feelings

This is just one illustration, but there are many such instances, what
we now need is agencies to come together to respond to children, who
are the most neglected.

Be it institutional care or family, let us all join together to look at what is
best for the child.  It is time, children and adolescents are focused

Feb 2, 2011

Old Age Pension scheme of Govt - the benefits and the realities

The old age pension scheme offered by the government to deserving has been channelized by Buds of Christ to support children under the care of grandparents. So far 15 families, grandparent-headed households are benefitted with the scheme. Though the amount `400 is a small amount, this plays a significant role in meeting some of the needs of the family.

The benefit is seen vital for families who have no other means of support
·         For families working in unorganized sector, and daily wages
·         For people taking care of grandchildren

In the case of Priya, an adolescent girl orphan, this benefit was more supportive, when her grandfather had to take rest due to eye operation and had no option to do any kind of work. The amount was just enough to satisfy their minimal needs for the month.

In the case of Krishnan and Radha both orphans under the care of grandfather and deserted by their father, this support has become an additional grant in meeting the day to day expenses. The grandfather works as a dhobi and sometimes health condition affects his earning for the month. This not only affects him, but also the children dependent on him.

This permanent income that comes as a social benefit is welcomed by all the families, but critically analyzing this alone will not help the family to live a quality life.

The above two illustrations, though has shown the positive side of the social benefit, the gaps remain
  • For families who cannot do any work due to advanced age condition.
  • For families living in rented huts
In this condition, the children become the sufferers and in some cases, the bread winners in spite of the social benefits. So as community center, we welcome the Old Age Pension by the Govt, but it can yield the complete purpose if the realities to the rising prices of basic commodities are also observed.