Africaid improves quality of life for HIV-positive adolescents under HIV-sensitive case management
Chitauro1 is a sixteen-year-old double orphan who lives in the rural village of Mudzi, a Child Protection Fund (CPF)-supported district in Mashonaland East Province.
He fell sick in 2007 to such an extent that the health facility became his second home. Chitauro tested positive for HIV and was initiated on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART).
When his mother died in 2009, the cake of his life turned sour since no one wanted to live with him because of his HIV status. That is when he was taken to All Souls Children’s Home in Mutoko, where he stayed for 3 years. In 2015, Chitauro was returned to his maternal relatives, who began to neglect him by letting him sleep in the car and sometimes outside the house in an open space; nobody cared whether he took his medication, nor were they concerned about his refill and clinic review dates.
Due to neglect, Chitauro defaulted on ART for six consecutive months. He was taken in by his uncle, who did not support ART, but believed in traditional medicine.
Chitauro’s health started to deteriorate and he was not taken to the hospital.
In 2016, Chitauro was identified by a Community Adolescent Treatment Supporter at Kotwa district hospital when he came for treatment on his own, staggering. He was referred for CD4 count test, and the result was 3ml/cell. Since he did not have funds to pay his medical bills, a CATS referred him to the Zvandiri Mentor, who contacted the Department of Social Welfare for Assisted Medical Treatment Order (AMTO).
The Mudzi Case Management Officer then held a family conference to establish who could take care of Chitauro and his condition. His aunt volunteered to stay with him at her house.
After two days, Chitauro fell sick and was admitted to Mudzi Hospital. It was at that point that Africaid’s Head of Programs, Technical Advisor and Regional Coordinator were in the district and paid Chitauro a visit. Unfortunately, the health facility did not have some of the medications that were prescribed by the doctor.
Africaid, through Maruva Trust, purchased the medication that was not available at the health facility and delivered it to the foster parent. Chitauro has greatly improved, he can now play with the foster parent’s children, walk on his own and feed himself. He is currently receiving enhanced care from a CATS and the Zvandiri Mentor.
Under the National Action Plan for OVC and with funding from the Child Protection Fund, Africaid has been supporting the Ministry of Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare (MoPSLSW) to integrate HIV-sensitive case management services for children and adolescents across Zimbabwe. Africaid’s role has centred on training and mentorship of Provincial- and District=level Social Welfare and Protection Officers on HIV-sensitive case management, as well as linking CATS and Case Care Workers. Significant advances have been noted by the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health & Child Care and UNICEF in terms of identification, referral and management of children and adolescents with HIV in need of child protection services.