Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CHIPS (Children’s HIV Intervention Program in Swaziland)

This is the new ministry program that we will be beginning. We submitted a proposal for grant money for CHIPS to the Clay Pots Foundation. Pastor Ken Jefferson of Mbabane Chapel administers this fund which is dedicated for HIV initiatives here in Swaziland. He is very supportive of the program we have designed. He has approved our proposal and agreed to fund this program for 3 years (R350000 for year one and R250000 for each of the two subsequent years). This funding covers program costs only: none of it is for our personal expenses here. While in the beginning we will be concentrating on one area in eastern Swaziland, our hope is to expand the program to help kids in the all rural areas of Swaziland to get HIV testing and to access treatment. We are planning to hire and train someone from this area to be an HIV counselor, as well as the driver to take the children and their care giver to the clinic for testing and monthly follow up. The nearest clinic is 17km, and the nearest hospital is 48km. The cost of transport to get to a clinic or hospital for testing or treatment has always been a hurdle (more so in an impoverished community). We know this outreach will provide a major component in ensuring children in the rural areas of Swaziland can take advantage of the life saving health care that is available.
We will be working with Pastor La’Salette Duarte of the Christian Family Church in Swaziland and Lori Schweighardt of Live in Love International. We value their heart, vision, and energy.
I am very excited to start working on this initiative, but at the same time, sad to be leaving the children and teachers I’ve built a relationship with over the past three years.

Thobile Update - September 2008

I saw Thobile this past week Tuesday. She had just returned from her visit to Baylor. When I went out to the van and she saw me, she squealed and ran to get a hug! Her smile was huge, but she looked so thin and is getting around very slowly. She has started getting daily injections for TB again. We had to start TB treatment all over again, since her mom didn’t keep up with her treatment last time and she is still positive for TB.
On Thursday I got a call from one of the doctors at Baylor. I was told that the TB culture that was taken the last time she was in the hospital just came back and was positive for multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. This is unfortunately not good news. MDR TB is extremely difficult to treat. It requires a very intense treatment regimen with many different drugs, one of which is also a daily injection. I’m not so confident that her mom will be able to keep up with this regimen, since she has not been consistent with the other regimen.
I am not sure if they will want to hospitalize her or just have her come in daily for her injections. The cost for transport to go to the TB clinic daily for Thobile and her mom is R20 ($3.00) per day. We have been paying the transport costs for this and for school. It is getting more and more expensive as fuel costs continue to go up. We would appreciate if someone would come along side us and sponsor Thobile’s ongoing medical costs (which may include hospitalization
I don’t know how good her prognosis is, given the malnutrition and wasting that she is already suffering from. These drugs have many side effects and require good nutrition in order to work. This will be quite a challenge for Thobile and her mom. Please help us pray for a good outcome for this precious little girl!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last Week at Children's Cup

The new nurse for Children’s Cup has been here for about 4 weeks. We have been working together in the clinics. Her name is Jessie, she is doing well. Sarah, another new missionary is working with her to help with the administrative aspects of the medical program. They are working very well together and will make a great team for the medical program.
This past week, we did a health care worker training for the new teachers. We had about 17 in the class. Jessie and I took turns teaching them basic anatomy/physiology, how to examine a patient, common illness, first aide, and CPR. They were a very bright class and did very well!
Thursday was my last clinic day, and Monday will be my last day with Children’s Cup. I will take Jessie and Sarah to Baylor and introduce them to the medical director and the administrator. I am confident they will do a great job with the medical program!