Saturday, November 07, 2009

Children's HIV Intervention Progam

On Friday's we typically head to Tambankulu to visit with Jabulani (and recently hired Mary) who do the day-to-day operation of C.H.I.P.S. Yesterday we caught up with them at Good Shepherd Hospital (GSH) in Siteki. They had brought 6 people to the VCT for initiation, CD4 results, and doctor visits.
While there we visited with Sikhumbuzo, a 7 year old boy on CHIPS. He had been admitted earlier in the week for yet another bout of bronchial pneumonia. Teresa went to see him in the children's ward. He was eating with the other children and watching TV. Teresa gave him a hug and commented how clean and fresh he smelled. He was being taken care of by a person on the hospital staff, who also cares for upwards of fifteen other children. His mother doesn't come visit him at all. We were thinking he is taken better care of at the hospital than at home. He was recovering well and would probably be released next week. CHIPS will help cover his hospitalization costs.
From there we went with Mary to visit a bed ridden man on CHIPS in Maphiveni. His wife has been with CHIPS and on ART for several months and is doing very well; she is healthy, (very) pregnant and very close to her due date. He on the other hand has (like most men) lived in denial of any health problems (and maybe especially HIV) till it is almost too late. Now completely bed ridden, barely eating (because of sores in his throat), he is wasting away. We delivered adult diapers, gloves, and Oral Rehydration Salts given to CHIPS by the Home Care outreach at GSH. His CD4 count was 130 at the last test. He is scheduled to be initiated on ART next week.
Teresa knelt by his bed (blankets on the floor) with Mary to go over his medical condition and giving his wife and relatives instruction on how to best care for him. He should have been admitted to the hospital, but there are no free beds.
Teresa took the opportunity to talk with him about Jesus. Mary interpreted. He was too weak to respond.
Given he won't even be initiated on ART till next week and he is already so weak and has progressed so far with the disease, his chances of survival are small. We honestly don't think he will make it till next week but are hoping he makes it to ART initiation and begins to recover once on drug.
Please partner with us so we can reach children and caregivers much earlier in the disease progression. Their survival depends upon reaching them early and beginning ART early.
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