Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Could this more complicated regimen have saved Kyamanuwa from becoming HIV infected? Only God knows the answer to that, but we can be confident that we will see Kyamanuwa again one day - in heaven. My prayer, as Jennifer prayed when we were there, is that his mother can share in this hope as well.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The 16th of February will kick off
Sunday, February 11, 2007
From the pregnant mothers attending prenatal care who were first tested in April 2004, we have so far tested over 21,000 (!) and identified a little under 600 who are HIV infected (which is an HIV prevalence of 2.5%). The program began in 2 sites that year and by the end of 2006 was operational in all 9 Ministry of Health-run health centers, and largely implemented by Ministry of Health staff that the Kwejuna project, with EGPAF support, has helped to train in PMTCT. EGPAF has also paid for us to encourage mothers to deliver at health centers by supporting the cost of a mama kit which is given as a gift/incentive for every health center delivery. (This is important because most mothers here, 70-80%, deliver their babies at home and this makes it really challenging for the baby born to the HIV positive mother to receive the nevirapine syrup in time for it to make a difference.) The mama kit, given out to all mothers regardless of their HIV status, includes a plastic sheet which covers the delivery table, sterile gloves, a tie for the umbilical cord, and a sterile blade to cut the cord. The highlight of the kit is a piece of local cloth, called a kitengye, which the new born baby is wrapped in (like in the picture) and then goes home in. Giving a kitengye to every new born baby in a health center has been a huge hit and in 2006 we saw a 30% increase in births at health centers across the district.
Other aspects of the Kwejuna project include linking our mothers into HIV care so that they can receive HIV drugs for themselves and remain healthy for longer. We also try to link any familiy members, including their husbands or babies, who are HIV infected into HIV care as well. Another aspect of Kwejuna is the provision of food supplements to these families. (See the 'God gives generously' blog entry for a description of that.)
The Kwejuna project takes its name from the expression of congratulations that are given to women here when they have just delivered a baby. Webale Kwejuna means thank you for surviving (the birth of your baby).
Saturday, February 10, 2007
-Breast milk is really good for children.
-Children (and adults!) need some food from 3 different food groups at each meal. The groups are body building foods (soybeans, groundnuts, eggs, meat, fish), energy providing foods (yams, rice, cassava), and protective foods (papaya, oranges, local greens).
-Hygiene is important.
-Plant-based protein sources are healthy and inexpensive; one does not have to eat meat to be healthy.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
This past Tuesday we had our monthly milk distribution for the motherless infants in the area. 42 children were brought from as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite the pouring rain. We were so pleased to see many chubby children and others who were making good progress. We enrolled 6 new motherless infants, a set of premature twins averaging 4 pounds each, and a severely malnourished 8 month old who was about 9 lbs 9 oz.
The newborn pictured here has a neat story. Her caretaker lives in DRC and for a year has been breastfeeding a little cutie named Sukrani. He was a relative to her divorced husband, but the woman volunteered to nurse the child. We assisted the caretaker, whom we now call Mama Sukrani, with a food stipend to keep up her milk supply and some porridge when the child was older. Pat would say that if she would be any child in this program, she’d want to be Sukrani, because he was so well loved and cared for. We were not the only ones who noticed. The little girl pictured here lost her mother soon after her birth on New Year’s Day 2007. The community knew immediately what to do. They found Mama Sukrani and asked her to breastfeed her. She willingly agreed. Later, she gave her my name, Keren.