Good nutrition AND CARE is vital TO IMPROVING A CHILDS' HEALTH - the STORY OF BABY SYDNEY
Despite the many interventions to prevent mothers transmitting the HIV virus to their babies, pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV continue to fall out of care. This is especially true in Sub- Saharan Africa where new HIV infection among children is still prevalent. According to UNAIDS, 150,000 children were infected with HIV in 2019 and almost 90% of these live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Factors like poverty, poor health care systems, cultural practices and poor adherence to treatment contribute to new HIV infections especially among children from vulnerable households. Six months old Sydney Chala is a beneficiary of TTF's palliative care and nutrition support programs.
Little Sydney has defied the odds, from being exposed to HIV, being malnourished, experiencing the worst form of stigma and discrimination, to losing his parents and his home.
Having lost his father even before he was born, Sydney and his mother first came to TTF when he was barely three months old. They were identified in the community by one of TTF's community health workers. His mother was very ill and extremely malnourished. She had stopped taking her ARV medication for over three years. Due to her condition, she was not able to breastfeed Sydney properly and he too became severely malnourished.
Due to the severity of their condition, both mother and child were hospitalized and placed on the TTF palliative care and nutrition support program, providing support towards medical and nutritional requirements. The hospitalization presented a new challenge as no relative was willing to help nurse mother and baby apart from Sydney’s thirteen year old sister, a child herself. TTF stepped in and hired two adult caregivers to nurse the two of them. After two months in hospital Sydney’s health improved greatly and he was discharged. His HIV test results showed that Sydney was HIV negative. TTF continued to provide nutritional support not only for Sydney but his siblings as well.
Everything seemed to be going well for Sydney, until one fateful morning, his mother succumbed to the illness, leaving Sydney and his siblings orphaned. Sadly baby Sydney faced stigma and rejection from his mother’s surviving relatives, saying they could not look after a sick baby, despite being told that his HIV test results came out negative. They refused to take baby Sydney in.
But, as they say every dark cloud, has a silver lining. Violet Tembo, a TTF community health worker came through for little Sydney and took both Sydney and his 3 siblings in, while waiting to find a permanent place for them.
At six, Sydney is today a healthy, energetic, and happy baby. TTF is grateful to Violet and her family for stepping in and taking care of Sydney and his siblings while we work towards securing a safe permanent place for them.
Your support, can help more vulnerable children like Sydney live a healthy life. Donate and give the gift of health
Liswani is 17 years old and discovered she was living with HIV in 2019 through a routine TTF community testing day. When she learned about her status, she felt alone and did not have anyone to talk to. Liswani would often come to the clinic, always reserved without saying much. One day she was invited by the TTF counsellors to attend the TTF Girls Club, with the intention to help provide her a support network of peers living with HIV . It was here that this quiet, shy girl revealed her story:
Liswani lived with her stepfather and mother. Only Liswani’s mother knew her status, but one day her stepfather found a bag with her medication and her mother was forced to tell him Liswani had tested positive for HIV. When this occurred everything changed for Liswani. She explained that often her stepfather would throw away any food she prepared for him or even break plates if he saw her using them. She suffered daily stigma and discrimination from her stepfather, and he even stopped paying for her school fees forcing her to drop out of school. With the constant bullying and negativity at home she even thought of committing suicide.
Slowly, with the support of the TTF Girls Club, Liswani began to find solace in her newfound friends and was able to draw strength from their individual experiences of discrimination and how they dealt with it. By opening up to her peers this young girl has blossomed to being a strong confident young woman. By learning about HIV and acceptance at TTF she has been able to speak to her family about HIV, breaking down barriers and improving her relationship with both her parents.
Liswani’s mother was invited to attend a TTF caregiver’s workshop, where she learnt about HIV, how to better support her daughter and speak to her husband about HIV transmission, breaking down the mis-information and stigma.
Today Liswani is virally suppressed and is active in many youth programs offered at TTF. Liswani hopes she will one day be able to go back to school. She wants to be a nurse and help other girls like her.
Your donation allows us to support girls like Liswani. Please consider supporting us to continue running the Girls Club:
One of the critical pieces of our work is outreach. We go into the disadvantaged communities surrounding Lusaka to meet people, talk about HIV, raise their awareness, and test them. A lot of people still do not know their HIV status and are scared to go to a clinic and get tested.
TTF’s outreach services bring the safety of our clinic into the communities. Clinics can be intimidating, and most people feel comfortable in their own home and familiar surroundings. Our team of social workers and volunteers work closely with communities to identify people or groups that would benefit from HIV awareness and testing. We talk to people in their comfort zones, on a personal level, and discuss the importance of knowing their status.
Since the beginning of 2019, TTF provided HIV awareness and testing to 6,737 people through our outreach programs. Out of that number, 62 tested positive, and of those 21 were 20 years old or younger and/or pregnant, and therefore enrolled at our clinic and provided with medication and psychosocial support. Those who are above 20 years old or not pregnant are referred to the nearest government clinic.
For those who tested negative, they walk away with a greater understanding of HIV and how it is prevented and/or managed. More importantly, they are willing to be tested in the future, and they are likely to share this knowledge within their community. Information is powerful, and through our outreach services, we aim to provide as many people as possible with accurate information about HIV.
The donations and support we receive to conduct these activities go a long way in helping people understand the importance of testing. Thank you to everyone for your continued support!
Adolescents are often overlooked and many HIV interventions are not tailored to their specific needs. With support from Egmont Trust Funding and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Small Grants, TTF received funds to work within key compounds in Lusaka to develop programs that provide tailored, supportive and safe spaces for adolescents to receive the HIV care, treatment and support they need.
Through the Egmont Trust Funding, TTF will create youth-friendly spaces that promote HIV awareness, sexual reproductive health and psychosocial therapy with age-appropriate interventions.
The PEPFAR Small Grants program will enable us to use football coaching sessions, community schools football coach training, football for health tournaments, community school outreach and Routine care for People Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWH) at the TTF clinic as a medium to reach more than 3,180 young people to increase HIV awareness, improve life skills, and create a supportive community environment for young people.
We are excited to take some of the lessons learned from the TTF Clinic, where we provide supportive HIV learning environments for young people and develop these skills in the community.
Many of these interventions have been supported through donations from private individuals. Your donations help us to refine our approaches, so that we can scale them up and partner with big donors to reach more people.
In May 2019, TTF USA Board Members Colleen Lindner and Michelle Meade spent two weeks at the TTF Zambia office. In anticipation of their trip, they raised over USD$2,000 through a GoFundMe Campaign to revamp the Nutrition Program, and take the staff out for a much needed one-day staff retreat. Thanks to this support, 25 undernourished children and their families received nutritional support for three months. Read more about one of the beneficiaries of this initiative here.
We also spent a lot of time working on a three-year strategic plan for the organization. The team took time to reflect on the vision and mission of TTF, and how we want to move forward. It’s very exciting to recall where TTF has come from and how much it has grown over the years and most importantly the change we have made and continue to make in the lives of our clients.
The process culminated into a one-day staff retreat. It was a fun and reflective day for staff and the board, packed with practical exercises and fun games to help build relationships and help staff to see the value of each person in the team and how improving communication can help improve teamwork and lead the team to achieve results.
We also took time to appreciate some of the very hard working staff. Our cleaner and office help, Patricia got the award for the most hard-working staff for 2018 and our Deputy Director of Programmes and Operations, Justin got the award for the longest-serving TTF member of staff. Hearty congratulation to both!
We are so grateful to the many people to have supported TTF, and continue to support our work. Your donations make real, meaningful impact in so many lives. Through your generous donations, we are able to provide a complete package of medication, nutrition, counseling and social support for entire families. Thank you!
NUTRITION: EAT WELL, BE WELL
Peter was ill, malnourished and so weak that he could not walk without support. He tested positive for HIV and was enrolled in the Nutrition Programme right away, which provided a food package every two weeks to his family. The food package consists of mealie meal (a national staple of grounded maize), cooking oil, sugar, eggs and fruits.
After being on the programme for 3 months, Peter gained 1.5kg (3.3 lbs). He continues to receive HIV treatment at the TTF clinic and noticeably happier. He feels happy coming to the clinic and says hi to everyone.
It costs only USD$276 to provide nutritional support to a family for three months, but makes a lifetime difference in ensuring the health and stability of children who need good nutrition to tolerate their HIV medication.