By Prince Trevor Mugenga
The team leader of Hope for Communities in Africa (HCA) Africa Emmanuel Manishimwe has been praised for supporting families with children living with HIV/AIDs by providing them with emergency food relief.
During the launch of a food intervention campaign yesterday at their offices in Nyaruyaga village, Nyamirima Ward, Central Division, a total of 40 children living positively, along with their parents and care givers were supported with food.
HCA Africa is an organization that supports Orphans and Vulnerable children.
Manishimwe says, following months of lobbying, support from Kings Active Foundation, based in the United Kingdom raised financial support to buy food for the families for the next two months valued at 2000-pound sterling’s, approximately 8.8 million Ugandan shillings.
Bonita Murekatete, a mother of two children, says the organization has restored hope in her life and the life of her children.
She admits that after her husband died, she nearly gave up all hope of taking care of her children because she did not have any job and worse still, she did not have any food.
“The organization, through Mr. Emmanuel has managed to send me some money which I have used to start a small business that allows me to take care of my family as well as save some money for rainy days, which come every so often, Murekatete said
Murekatete’s story of renewed hope is just one of 40 other families that have children living positively and are seeking medication from Kisoro Hospital.
Jackline Nyirakwizera, the focal point person for the HIV/ART clinic at Kisoro hospital says at least 121 children and adolescents are currently on treatment at the hospital.
She admits that on a weekly basis, between 3 to 5 new cases are registered at the clinic which is a reason to be concerned.
Nyirakwizera says it’s important for people especially expectant mothers to test at least every three months in order to achieve elimination of mother to child transmission (eMTCT) of HIV in Uganda.
Kisoro Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Benon Rukunda admits that Pediatric and adolescent HIV services continue to lag considerably behind because most help comes in form of medication, and no one ever thinks about food intervention.
“It is not possible for medication to work effectively if someone is still hungry and worried about their next meal. It gets worse when trying to treat children and young adolescents because adherence to drugs is affected”, Dr. Rukunda explained.
Dr. Rukunda expressed sincere gratitude to HCA Africa for restoring hope to a young generation of people living positively by providing education, food and Pyscho-social support.
Annet Dusabe, the Assistant District Health Officer (ADHO) called on families to consider using family planning, especially in situations where parents are HIV positive.
According to Dusabe, a manageable family is much easier to take care of and it reduces the mental and emotional stress of taking care of a family that is living positively.
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