May 18, 2011

Latest at Buds of Christ - April 2011

The month of April has been both challenging and exciting in moving a step ahead in the care of children and the care takers.

Eye treatment for care takers facilitated:

This month, two members of the grandparents care takers of children had successful cataract operation at Sankara eye hospital in Coimbatore. With the supportive hands of Sankara eye hospital, the two grandparents had the entire operation procedures free of cost. The ambience and the cordial treatment of the medical staff were well appreciated by the two grandparents.

I am really happy to get my sight again, I had lost hopes when I joined a team of people from my village and went to a government hospital. All the people who had come along with me from the village ,had clear vision after the surgery ,but mine become complicated as eye infection developed and this resulted in me becoming totally helpless for a month. It was my grandchild, sheela (12 years) who cooked for me and her twin brother. Now after going for my surgery with the support of Buds of Christ, I have got my sight again and I am happy about it. I was really happy of Sangeetha, the field worker at Buds of Christ who took care and accompanied me to the treatment and the hospital people were cordial to us -expression of Grandfather of Karthik and sheela

Child successfully initiated second line treatment:
Rita (name changed) - We are happy to share that Rita has started her second line treatment (higher level treatment, when the basic drugs that fight against HIV fails) and is currently taking admitted in Community Care Center at Salem for 15 days observation. Though the drugs are available free of cost, the access was a challenge and now with follow-up and pressures from individuals and pressure groups, the drugs have been made available to Rita.

“I am happy and confident that I could achieve what I have aspiring for a long time, to be a teacher.
Knowing what CD4 value meant to my health status made me feel much tensed especially when I was waiting for my drugs to be initiated. It also made me realize the importance of adhering to drugs and not be casual of treatment”

Advocacy workshop for community youth:
A two day workshop was held for young people in the community (Change makers) to be active representatives on HIV prevention and care in the community. About 25 young people participated and all of them have made a commitment to further reach young people and prevent new HIV infection among young people.

Art workshop for care takers and children:

It was an amazing experience for women and children in experiencing a different form of being together through art workshop.  For the care takers it was mask making and decorating it and that brought in a lot of emotions that were pent –up within them. For children, understanding that every body is one through colour and painting their goals was both relaxing and even visualising their future on paper. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Esther through the Singapore volunteer group.

One family has been supported with running cost as a grant to run a petty shop. The family is headed by the grandmother who looks after her blind widowed daughter and three grandchildren. In spite of their hardships, she has encouraged all her grandchildren to pursue their studies. The support was provided to provide an additional income for the family.

Other ongoing activities:
Counseling, follow-up visits to homes of children living with HIV, community village youth group meetings, care takers meeting and nutrition support to deserving families.

May 4, 2011

Treatment available but Not Accessible on time!

Rita (name changed) is 14 years old living with HIV, an orphan looked after by her aunt. Their sole income is the widow pension scheme awarded by the government and some meager amount that her aunt earns through occasional coolie work. She had been on the first line treatment for the past 5 years through the free Ante Retroviral Treatment program.  After in spite of adhering to the treatment for so long, her CD4 (immunity level) drastically dropped below the normal range as specified by the government latest CD4 value recorded 77 in March 2011. Together with her inability to fight Tuberculosis,  we understand the situation indicates treatment failure.  In this condition, she traveled to Chennai (450kms) about 5 weeks before with her aunt and the field worker for a consultation to Government Hospital in Tambaram for her treatment.

Rita is 14 and is old enough to understand what is happening to her body – she has lived with the HIV virus and knows details about CD4 count. Since she has been emotionally low, in this last one month, we have been giving her lot of emotional support. We also managed to provide nutrition support, especially the recommended high-protein diet. We are a community based organization working for the issues of children, and there are other children who are on ART treatment in the same community who regularly meet each other. We encourage each child to adhere to their treatment but when they see what is happening to Rita sometimes they are also discouraged and it becomes difficult for our care team to motivate the children in taking their drugs on time.

Summarizing the situation, we believe the life of the child is affected because of the procedures in accessing the medication. The procedural delays in the government protocol are affecting the child’s access to the medication. We have taken steps and raised our concerns, hope the government systems change that what is available with the government is accessible for orphan children like Rita!