Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Training @ Baylor Clinic

Last week we had 14 people from our CarePoints attend training at Baylor Clinic. This is a pediatric clinic sponsored by Baylor College of Medicine and Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals. The doctors are from Baylor, and they see only HIV positive children and their families. They do a wonderful job of counseling the family members about HIV and the medications to treat it. So they offered to do this training to one or two people from each of our CarePoints. We thought that it would be great to have someone at each CarePoint who is knowledgeable about HIV, the symptoms and the treatment. Many times, the kids at the CarePoints don’t have anyone to take care of them and make sure that they get enough to eat, take their medications, or make sure they have good hygiene. So if there is someone at each CarePoint who is trained to do these things, it will be very helpful.

The 14 people were made up of teachers, Bible club leaders, cooks, and community members. These guys got a lot of information in a three day period. They asked good questions, and really got a lot out of the training. Many of them got tested themselves, which is a step in the right direction. They were very appreciative for the training that they were given and expressed this very sweetly, both to the staff at the clinic and to me. I believe that the information that they gained will help them, not only at the CarePoints, but at their own homes and communities as well. If the people of Swaziland can be taught of the importance of testing and that even if they are positive, it is not the end. Treatment is available and it is free. So many lives can be saved it they will only get tested and start on treatment. The stigma that goes along with being HIV positive here is amazing. It keeps people from being tested and getting treatment. So I think that this training was a wonderful thing, and I am very grateful to Baylor for arranging these sessions and teaching our workers at Children’s Cup.

I tried with all my might to understand the training myself, but since the majority of it was in SiSwati. I had great difficulty following what they were talking about. They wrote on the board in English, so I could follow, while they were discussing those things. As soon as they got off of the subject on the board, I was lost, only picking up a word here and there. It was a blessing to serve these precious workers these three days, as I was in charge of making sure they had food and drink for tea time and lunch time. May God richly bless these precious workers in His field.

Update about 15 year old girl from Madonsa

I mentioned a while back a little 15 or 16 year old girl from one of our new CarePoints (Madonsa). We did a clinic there a few months ago, and when this little girl walked in, we all knew that she was sick. She was very thin, her heart rate was very rapid, and she just looked extremely ill. When we asked her age, and she said 16 we all were amazed, because she didn’t look a day over 10. She had a severe cough, diarrhea, and was very malnourished. We started trying to find out who her family members were, so we could see if we could get her tested. First, I treated her with antibiotics and cough medicine, and we brought her some mealy meal with extra nutrients in it. After about 2 weeks, she was a little bit better, but still not well. I think that I put her on 2 rounds of antibiotics and then we had a meeting with her mother, who also looked sick herself, as well as very thin. We told her that once she finished this second round of antibiotics, it she was not well, we needed to get her to the clinic. Once she completed them, I saw her again, and she had improved, but still was not well. I knew that she needed to be tested. At this point, we explained to her mother that if she wanted us to help her, we needed to take both her and her child to the clinic in Mbabane so they could be tested for HIV. Her mother agreed and we brought her for testing. It turns out that they are both positive. The doctor wants to work on nutrition before starting ARV’s. So he explains the importance of good nutrition and eating many small meals a day. Two weeks later, when she returned, she had gained 2 kg. The doctor was very pleased and now we are waiting for her CD-4 count to come back to see if she needs to start on ARV’s.
It turns out that this little girls’ birthday is April of 1991, which makes her 15. I thought about my own 15 year old daughter who was born March of 1991. I look at this thin little girl, and then at my daughter, who is a great athlete, and is very healthy, and I am very thankful to the Lord for His mercy and grace on us. However, I pray that this little one has a chance to be healthy as well. She has not been able to continue to attend school because she has been so sick. She also has a hearing loss problem which her mom says that she has had since birth. I pray that we can help her to return to a state of health that will allow her to return to school and to live a healthy life.

When I walked into the clinic this past week and this little one saw me and recognized me, it gave me great delight to see the smile light up on her face as she waved to get my attention. I brought some colors and coloring books for her and the other kids to use while they were waiting. It gave me great joy to watch her color a picture of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Then I asked her to write her name on her paper, and she wrote it very neatly and precisely. I have great hope that the Lord will help us to be able to help this little one return to a state of health in which she can return to school and also come to the knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as her mother. Please help me pray for these precious ones that the Lord loves so dearly.
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