Together, we are saving lives
We hope you enjoyed reading our most recent quarterly newsletter where we aim to keep you informed about our work, and where we can reiterate our deep appreciation for your continued support. For our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, you will probably be enjoying the early onset of Spring with all the signs of hope that the season brings. For the children and adolescents who rely on the healthcare provision of the clinics in the Amajuba District, there is certainly reason to hope. Our CHIVA South Africa team has conducted baseline assessments in this disadvantaged rural area during March and they will be there again every month in 2019. We also said goodbye to CHIVA Africa’s CEO, Stephen Harvey at the end of February as he moves on to pastures new. He has done an amazing job over the past few years professionalising and structuring CHIVA for which we are very grateful. Finally, please consider setting up a monthly direct debit, or making a one-off gift during this season of celebration and partner with us as we continue to save many lives, one child at a time.
Progress at Amajuba District clinics
During the team’s initial visit earlier this month to Amajuba District, it was encouraging to see that most facilities were testing children and adolescents on a regular basis and there was a good response. For those requiring treatment, we are exploring strategies to keep patients in care and to provide them with the ongoing support they need. The district has a major challenge with regards to patients defaulting, especially concerning are the young people who are sexually active. New systems are being put in place to address this.
Health care practitioners also identified mental health challenges and a dramatic increase in substance abuse which highlights a real need to create multi-agency referral linkages. Unfortunately, it does not appear that there are many opportunities for inpatient rehabilitation services, only counselling services which are in city centres, the nearest town being Newcastle which is nearly 30 kilometres away. There is a high rate of malnutrition in general with some cases being quite severe, despite the additional support of nutritional supplements. Of particular concern are the children who are not gaining the desired weight, especially for those on ART and who require regular growth monitoring and the adjustment of drug doses according to their weight.
Poverty poses a real issue and it is very difficult for some families to visit the clinic on a regular basis, due to distance and transport costs. However, it was extremely uplifting to see that many facilities were reaching out to their communities and using teams to either educate communities about healthcare provision or rendering home or community-based care.
Thank you again for your continued support.
Dr. Karyn Moshal
Founder & Chair, CHIVA Africa