Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative-Pediatric AIDS Care & Support Programme
Clinton HIV/AIDS Pediatric Care and Support Programme was initiated in Andhra Pradesh through Vasavya Mahila Mandali as Lead partner in September 2006. 43 partners including 18 district level HIV positive networks, one local network and 24 NGOs as implementing partners provided pediatric care and support services to Children Living with HIV/AIDS in 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The programme provided Care & Support services to 5400 CLHA for supplementary nutrition, adherence counseling and travel support for child and caregiver to visit the ART centre.
Now I am secured and safe
Bhaskar is 4 years old child from Chagallu Village. His grandparents came from Rajahmundry to Chagallu 40 years ago for their livelihood. Lakshman and Radha are his parents. His father Lakshman had gone to Madras for a better livelihood as a daily laborer. At that time, he was habituated to drink alcohol with his friends and he had extra marital relationships with other woman at his workplace. After a year, he came back to his family. After a few months, his wife Radha was conceived. At that time, Lakshman suffered with fever, diarrhoea and skin infections. So he went to hospital for check-up, doctor suggested him to go for HIV test and It was diagnosed that he is living with HIV infection and Later he took his wife to hospital for Check-up. There it was diagnosed that she is also living with HIV. After few months, she gave birth to male child. She did not follow doctor suggestions to prevent HIV to her child as she had self-stigma and discrimination by the community. Her husband became sick and died with AIDS in 2006.
At that time, KRDSO, a partner NGO to VMM has conducted awareness camp in the Chagallu village and conducted area wise group meetings to identify the HIV infected persons and to increase awareness level on HIV/AIDS. After the completion of meeting, Radha along with her child met KRDSO staff and explained their situation. Staff provided emotional support through counseling and they registered their family in Home and Community Based Care and Support Programme. After the continuous efforts of NGO staff, through home visits and regular follow-up mother Radha agreed for HIV test to her son Bhaskhar. Radha expected that her child will not be infected with HIV but it was diagnosed that the child is also living with HIV (August 2007). As her husband died with HIV, the survival of family became very difficult for Radha. The NGO helped to her Bhaskar by registering his name in CHAI Pediatric Programme, they provided emotional support to Radha to overcome the situations, and the staff explained her about the importance of care giving, nutrition and Personal Hygiene as the child is suffering with diarrhoea and with skin infections. Staff explained the importance of CD4 test and she accepted to do test to her child. NGO staff took Bhaskar along with his mother to ART center and tested CD4 on September 2007. The CD4 count is 490, and his height is 76 centimeters and weight is 9 kilos during the first test. NGO staff was providing counseling services during home visits to make the mother to face the problem and to cope and to provide support to her child be healthier. NGO provided nutritional counseling and conducted nutritional demonstration to explain the major role of nutrition in increase of health status of her child. It also distributed nutritional materials such Ragi, Jagerry and groundnuts in time (quarterly once). NGO staff used different tools in counseling process to increase effectiveness and understanding levels of Radha to take proper care of her child. With all these efforts made by NGO the CD4 count increased from 490 to 604 height 76 centimeters to 80 and weight 9 to 11 kilos. NGO has taken steps for reduction of stigma and discrimination in the community. There is series of stigma, discrimination in Chagallu as it is a village, and many people are afraid of AIDS. NGO is conducting awareness campaigns and group meetings with positive speakers in village from last two years. Now the stigma is reducing comparatively past. Local community members and key persons are sensitized on this issue and they have played a major role in community mobilization to provide nutrition and food to infected persons. Through this community, mobilization, nutrition and food material was supplying by quarterly basis to Radha’s family, which is helping them to take complete meal. By the interventions Radha has improved health, her income levels are increasing to take care of her sick child Bhaskar. Radha said that VMM partner has extended support to her and to her child to lead a confident and secured life by overcoming difficult situations and guiding properly to provide care giving to Bhaskar with CHAI pediatric Programme.