Care and Support to TB/HIV/AIDS Patients
When you are ill with Tuberculosis, you need support, care and love to get better. We know that those patients who are given quality support by their family members as well as community volunteers to meet their physical needs such as good food, a home, as well as enough rest get better.
Christian Aid Ministries has been working so hard ensuring that it meets some of the above needs.
Each month, the organization buys food such as kapenta, beans, cooking oil and mealie meal and distributes it to its 49 needy and vulnerable TB/HIV/AIDS patients in seven urban and peri-urban communities in Kitwe which is its catchment area. These are Buchi, St. Anthony, Kamakonde, Mugala, Kapoto, Kapatipa and Luangwa communities.
Because CAM is a regular buyer from Jamas and CHAT Milling companies, we just place an order for the number of bags and the quantity of mealie meal in each bag needed and they deliver to our home/organization office at 3038 Kwacha East Kitwe instantly without having to go there and transport them to our place ourselves.
Community Food Distribution
We do Community food distribution once a month. Before food is distributed to our clients in the community, our volunteers spend time in our food store sorting and packing all the food items in readiness for the distribution. We park beans and kapenta in 5kg plastic bags separately, while mealie meal which in 25 kg bags is repacked in 10 kg sacks. Cooking oil is distributed in their original 3.5mls one bottle to each patient. The reasons why we repack the food in portions before the distribution day is to to make the prospective food distribution much easier. We travel from community to community giving food to all our 49 clients in seven communities
Each patient receives at least a 10 Kg bag of mealie meal, 2 Kg packet of beans 2 kg packet of kapenta and one 3.5 milliliters bottle of cooking oil
Food Distribution in Buchi Community
The food distribution to patients in Buchi community went so well. We found all our clients gathered at Kebba’s grandmother in Buchi community. We started the food distribution program at exactly 11:00 hrs. But before we could start the program, we had to introduce our working staff to our clients and the patients went on to introduce them to us.
wiche Chomba is a newly engaged CAM volunteer who is now responsible for all CAM community outreach programs. She will be working hand-in-hand with Bernadette Mulenga (Stan’s wife) in coordinating all community related TB/HIV related programs in Christian Aid Ministries.
Mwiche Chomba is educated and has a diploma in Social Work from the University of Zambia. She has also worked with a number of civil society organizations in Kitwe in HIV and TB related fields. We are optimistic that she will deliver and carry our work forward.
Community Sensitization on TB and HIV/AIDS
Community sensitizations on TB and HIV/AIDS are very very important to our TB clients in the community. Before we start distributing food to them, we start speaking to our clients about TB and HIV/AIDS that affects them in the community. TB is a preventable and curable airborne disease that is caused by bacteria, while AIDS is a condition of the body having many diseases, brought about by a weak immune system due to HIV virus. It is estimated that 75 per cent of TB patients are also infected with HIV.
These sensitizations are especially important because they help to dispel the illusion and a myth that is there in community that all TB patients have HIV. This causes a lot of stigma and discrimination among TB patients.
We highlight the fact that TB is curable while HIVAIDS is treatable. Scientists and all the researchers in the medical field have not yet found a cure for HIV/AIDS. The only treatment remedy available at the moment for AIDS patients is ARVs that they have to stick to for the rest of their lives. ARVs are working so effectively in prolonging life and it is the responsibility of the patients to make a commitment to follow the laid down instruction given by the doctor at a health institution.
Client Food Distribution Card
Christian Aid Ministries has developed what is called a ‘Client ‘Food Distribution Card. These cards will be given to each of the 7 TB/HIV clients in each of the 7 communities. The Cards comprise particulars of patients such as name, Sex, community and residential address of the patient and the food items given to a patient in a particular month. There is also a provision where the volunteer giving the food and the patient receiving the food have to sign to confirm that the patient received the food. These cards will be kept by the patients themselves. Each time we have a food distribution program in the community, the organization will be requesting its patients to produce these cards a failure to which they will not be able to receive anything from CAM on that day. This will help us to focus our attention on intended clients who have registered with us.
Sharon Musonda is HIV positive and she is on TB treatment. Sharon is a mother of 4 children and she is a divorcee. Her husband left her and married another woman when she was very very sick in the hospital.
Mr. Musonda accused his former wife (Sharon) to be the one who infected him with HIV because Sharon was a business woman, selling vegetables in Chisokone market, and they divorced.
However, Mr. Musonda has been found with TB and he is on TB treatment. He is very very sick and there is no one to look after him. His newly married wife after divorcing Sharon, has left him saying she is not the one who infected him with HIV to begin to suffer and continue to look after a terminally sick TBHIV/AIDS patient like Mr. Musonda.
Christian Aid Ministries has adopted both Mr. Musonda and Sharon as its clients in Buchi community and has been supporting both of them with nutritional support, spiritual support through prayers, psychosocial counseling, transportation to the health institutions such as Kitwe central hospital and the Chest clinic for medical reviews and TB and antiretroviral drug collection. Both of them are so critically sick that they cannot walk to these nearby health institutions ( Kitwe central hospital and Chest Clinic) from Buchi community where they stay.
After we counseled both of them, they have plans of coming together when they get healed and continue to look after their family in the near future.
Mary Makungu is HIV positives and she is a mother of 4 children. Her husband had HIV, and died of TB in 2007. Mary is currently on TB treatment and on ARvs. She is responding so well to both treatments.
Mary’s elder brother Joe, and 6 young sisters of hers, her niece, Kebba and her mother are all HIV positive and are on antiretroviral treatment.
Christian Aid Ministries identified this family in 2008 and has remained committed to providing them with the necessary care and support that they need in terms of nutritional support, supplementary medical support,, spiritual and psychological support which have encouraged them a lot.
In 2010, we worked so hard with Kiesha Garber, when Joe was admitted to Kitwe central hospital very very sick to the point of death. I, Stanley, was on the bedside tending him. CAM paid for all the TB and HIV tests and he was discharged and commenced on both treatments. Joe is now in good health and is at his father’s farm farming. We meet when he comes to collect ARV medicines from Buchi clinic and he is always thankful to CAM.
Kebba, a niece to marry and Joe Makungu (also on ART) is in grade 8 now and is doing so well in school. She visits and stays with us at our home during holidays. She is greeting you!!!
Judith Tembo is 10 years old. She is HIV positive and she is on antiretroviral drugs. She is being looked after by her grandmother because her mother is dead. Unfortunately Judith has not been going to school because she is always sick. She has been coughing for almost three weeks now. But when we took her sputum to the laboratory for TB test on Wednesday, 2nd November 2011 last week, the results indicated TB negative. We will take her to Kitwe Central hospital for X-ray on Friday 11th November 2011 this week. We are so sure that if she has TB and she is commenced on TB treatment, she will begin to feel better and eventually she will begin to go to school.
Rhoda Soko is 49 years old. She is married with 4 children. Rhoda is on TB treatment. We have taken her for HIV test and she is negative. Rhoda’s health condition has improved so significantly and she is now able to do her domestic work and look after her family so well.
Rhoda is very active. When she is home, she likes selling vegetables from her backyard garden that she has made. Sometimes people like coming to buy rape right from her garden and she makes money to feed her family without asking CAM for support. We are really proud of her for being so enterprising. She has managed to send her two children to secondary school.
Food Distribution to TB Patients in Kamatipa Community
Client Food Distribution Cards have been distributed to each of our 49 TB/HIV clients in 7 communities where we operate from.
The Cards contain particulars of patients such as patient’s name, Sex, community and their Residential address, and the food items given to a particular client in a month. There is also a provision where the CAM volunteer/s giving the food and the recipient client/patient will be signing to confirm that they have received the food.
These cards will be kept by the patients themselves. Each time we have a food distribution program in the community, the organization will be requesting its beneficiaries to produce these cards a failure to which they will not be allowed to receive food items from CAM. This will help us to concentrate only on our intended clients who are in our register.
Jenifer Mukwabila is HIV positive and she is on antiretroviral treatment. During the initial stage of her ART treatment, she developed severe heat rash culminated into sores around her body. The doctor wrote a prescription and we bought her the medicine that was needed and the sores vanished.
Mr. Katukula is a retired military man. He was given early retirement in 1988 when the government discovered that he was HIV positive and was not active. This was at a time when HIV/AIDS was not very common and those found with it were very much stigmatized and discriminated against. It was difficult to come out in the open and declare one’s HIV status. As a result many people were dying in great numbers. It was even difficult to even go for an HIV test to know one’s status in case you test positive.
Mr. Katukula suffered a lot of stigma and discrimination even from his family members and he almost died. His wife died long before he was even retrenched. Mr. Katukula is now in good health and he has continued taking his ARVs.
Mr. Katukula is one of the strongest HIV/AIDS activists in Kitwe and Christian Aid Ministries works so well with him.
Agnes Mwansa is a mother of four children. Her together with her husband Mr. Mwansa are HIV positive and are on antiretroviral drugs. It is very encouraging on the part of CAM to see that Mwansa and her husband’s health are continuing to improve day by day as they stick to the medication. Sooner or later they will be out of our support program and we will have to recruit others on their place for support
Mufwaya has TB and is on TB treatment. He is not HIV positive, however. Mufwaya is a married family man with four children. Previously, six months ago, in the initial stage of treatment when he felt better, Mufwaya stopped taking the TB medication and went to the bush to burn charcoal for business. While he was there in the bush, his condition changed suddenly and he fell very sick.
There was no one to look after him. His wife and the rest of his family were all left in Kamatipa compound. When CAM was informed of this sad development, we had to mobilize his family member who had a bicycle and I Stanley went with his cousin, Moses to pick him from the bush to Kamatipa. It was a long distance riding to the bush where he was. We were very very tired. On our way back, we had to carry Mufwaya on the bicycle and we walked all the way back to Kamatipa. The distance was approximately 30 km to and from the bush.
Christian Aid Ministries through Kamatipa Zone leader Forward Katukula worked so hard to ensure that Mufwaya was recommenced on TB drugs and streptomycin injection, which he receives every day morning at Kawama clinic. Christian Aid Ministries is so glad that Mufwaya has adhered to TB treatment this time around, and his health has improved. Mufwaya is on our monthly nutritional support program together with the rest of other CAM clients in Kamatipa community. Mufwaya’s family has been so grateful to us for the support that we have rendered to them during Muwaya’s sickness!!!
Ruth Kasongo is HIV positive but she has not yet started taking the antiretroviral drugs yet. Her immune system is still high.
Nevertheless, Ruth is experiencing headache and an unstopping running stomach. When she went to the clinic, the doctor told her that she has severe headache and diarrhea and gave her two prescriptions where she was requested to buy medicine for both sicknesses. The clinic did not have those drugs in stoke.
However, she did not have money. So she had to inform the Zone leader who later called the Secretary at CAM office who gave money to the Zone leader and bought the drugs for both diseases. Ruth called us on the phone that both the headache and diarrhea have minimized. Christian Aid Ministries will continue to support Ruth till she fully recovers.
Mary Spiriyano is a Kamatipa community volunteer. She is HIV positive and on Antiretroviral drugs. She just recently completed TB treatment on which she was for a full course of six months. Mary is married and has four children. She is very committed to mobilizing her fellow community volunteers in organizing various community activities for Christian Aid Ministries in Kamatipa community. When the Zone leader, Mr. Katukula is not there, Mary acts on his behalf.
In order to appreciate and motivate her as one of our community volunteers in that community, we decided to give her and Mr. Katukula some melie meal and beans. This is what we also (do) did to the rest of the community volunteers in Buchi, St. Anthony, Kanakonde, Mugala, Kapoto and Luangwa communities so that they can work hard.
ow one of the challenges that we are facing in our day-to-day activities of Christian Aid Ministries is transportation. It is difficult to determine how much we are going to spend on each program let alone, community mobilization programs such as food distribution, community visitations and transportation of patients to the health institutions for routine medical reviews and other medically associated tests. We spend a lot of money on transportation on these programs by hiring a vehicles with different drivers who charge us differently depending on the distance and the duration of the program. It is difficult to stick to one or two drivers because at the time we need them, we find that they are already booked by other people and they cannot manage to come at the time we need them. And because of the change of government, the fuel has increased and the cost of transport especially if you are hiring has also increased. It is difficult to hire a minibus (van) as we used to do to do monthly community food distribution, weekly community visitations and transportation of patients to the health institutions for routine medical reviews and other medically associated tests because the cost of hired transport has increased. Hiring a taxi like the one we hired for the October food distribution for two days 12th and 13th of October 2011 totaled to K800,000.00 (Eight Hundred Thousand Kwacha) instead of Five Hundred thousand Kwacha that we have budgeted for.
Now the monthly transportation cost for Dr. Elizabeth Rini Medical Centre TB patients feeding program for 8 – 9 days in a month (On Mondays and Fridays in a week) where Christian Aid Ministries used to spend K20,000.00 to and from the center which used to add up to 40,000.00 per day, is now 50,000.00; K25,000.00 to and from. We will now be spending approximately K450, 000.00 per month as a result of increase in fuel costs.
We have now realized that it is vitally important to have your own vehicle as an organization. It is significantly cheaper to have your own vehicle/s to help reduce transportation costs! If we have one, however, small it could be, what is very important is good maintenance. It can help us very very much in reducing the transport costs and allow the organization to operate effectively and meet the expectations of our clients in the community.
We are so grateful to our dear sponsors, who have been always committed to sending funds to cover the logistic transport expenses per month. However, the budget allocation towards transport usually overshoots because of the inconsistence in the manner we are being charges on hired (vehicles) transportation. And mostly we are being inconvenienced and disappointed by the drivers because they do not come on the time we expect them and we always start the work late. It is really hard!
We are praying to God and seeking for help from our sponsors, or anyone who is touched to buy us a vehicle that can help improve the operations of our organization and reduce the organization loft expenses on hired transport! We will be SO SO GRATEFUL!!!
We are very much humbled for the love and support that you extend to us almost on a daily basis, dear partners! God richly bless you as you labor in His Vineyard! We LOVE you so much! Stan