Imagine living in a home with one room, 10 family members and surviving on one meal a day.....This is the reality for Joyce, a 9 year old patient at the Tiny Tim & Friends Clinic.
Joyce is a new patient at TTF. She is HIV+, weighs only 12kgs (26lbs), has TB and is suffering from an all over body rash. Her symptoms and illnesses are not uncommon for a malnourished HIV+ child. Joyce currently sits below the 5th percentile on the BMI index and her health is a great concern – her CD4 count is 261 - just above a critical level.
Joyce's family situation is complex, her mother has alcohol abuse issues, and upon visiting her family home we discovered here grandmother, Betty, was seriously ill with TB - weighing only 28kgs (61lbs). Due to malnutrition Joyce is always sick and unable to go to school. Her mother never went to school and so is unable to secure regular employment, meaning food is scarce. They are stuck in a cycle of poverty.
Joyce needs significant medical and social support in order to help her to get healthy and lead a positive life. Tiny Tim & Friends is currently supporting her in the following ways:
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO HELP HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN LIKE JOYCE AT THE ttf cLINIC
Joyce came to Tiny Tim & Friends in August through one of our community volunteers who was working to identify HIV+ children in one of the biggest compounds in Lusaka, George Compound. She found Joyce in a bar with her mother, who sadly suffers with alcohol abuse issues. Immediately our volunteer was concerned by Joyce’s appearance – after speaking to her mother, Miriam, our volunteer confirmed that Joyce was HIV+ but not currently on treatment. After a long discussion Miriam consented for Joyce to be brought to the TTF Clinic.
"families in compounds dont have enough food, PEOPLE DIE OF ILLNESSES LINKED TO MALNUTRITION"mARGARET, COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Joyce’s family situation is tense, her father is absent and therefore her mother Miriam is the primary care giver. She currently works washing clothes to provide food for Joyce and her two siblings, four cousins, Joyce’s uncle and her Grandmother. Never having gone to school, Miriam is unable to secure regular work to support the family.
“I would love for Joyce to go to be able to go to school and get the opportunities I did not but Joyce is unable to go because its over a 8km walk to the nearest free school and she is not well enough to travel. We just don’t have the money for transport, so walking with her cousins is the only option”.
Miriam, Joyce's mother
Their financial situation is unstable which means they only eat one meal a day consisting of Nshima (a local staple food) and a vegetable. They are unable to afford the K20 ($2) per month needed to access clean water, so draw water from a shallow ground well which was dug by the community in the compound, and is contaminated by drainage and sewer water, causing them to often suffer with diarrhoea. All of the family members sleep in one room, there is no bathroom and they use a pit latrine, which is shared by over 30 other people.
Without medical, nutritional, counselling and social support for Joyce and her family Joyce could end up in the same cycle of poverty both her mother and grandmother are going through. Without access to treatment she wont be well enough to go to school, without an education she lacks the opportunities for employment. Without employment she risks relying on men for income and becoming a teenage mother like her mother and grandmother before her.
We can make a difference - together we can support Joyce and facilitate the much needed change in her life.