Tag Archives: children

There’s still time to support women and children affected by HIV!

 


Donate to Alive Medical Services by tomorrow, December 31, before 3:59 p.m. Uganda time (and 11:59 p.m. EST) to increase your impact for women and children affected by HIV.

To finish off 2017 in the most impactful way possible, Alive Medical Serves launched an end of year fundraising campaign at the end of November, Stop the Cycle of HIV: Support Women and Children. Our online fundraising partner, GlobalGiving, has provided so many different opportunities for our supports’ donations to be amplified through the holiday season.*

We’re so close to reaching our goal – but we’re not there yet! We still need your help to support all the infants, children, youth, women, mothers, and grandmothers currently in our care.

Thank you so much for your support this holiday season. Our work would never be possible without your generosity and compassion!

* all donations made on our GlobalGiving project page are tax deductible for U.S. donors. And, U.K donors can claim Gift Aid when they donate in GBP!

 

Children’s Day at Alive Medical Services

On December 2, 2017, 100 children gathered at Alive Medical Services for Children’s Day.

“Even though they’re children, they still experience stress,” said Lorna, a counselor with AMS’ youth and children program. “Children’s Day gives them a chance to be free and have fun together. They can forget their troubles for a little while.”

Throughout the day, youth peer educators led children in a number of different activities. They sang, danced, and played games, sometimes with their caregivers, other times with their peers.

The youth educators talked to children about the importance of adhering to their medication, along with other child-friendly health topics.

“Our youth educators really take charge of these events,” Lorna said. “They serve as good role models for the children, and encourage them to stay healthy.”

As children interacted with youth educators and staff, their caregivers participated in their own type of programming: music therapy. Our music therapy program was recently relaunched by two new members of our staff, both of whom arrived two weeks ago from the United Kingdom. These two staff members, Ella and Isabel, engaged caregivers in music therapy sessions throughout the day.

While in these sessions, caregivers were given the chance to unwind, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company. They talked about motherhood, care, and HIV, connecting over the challenges (and of course, the benefits) of raising HIV-positive children.

“A great part of today is the fact that children get to share love with their parents,” said Martin, a clinician at AMS. “We encourage children to dance, sing and spend time together, which is so important.”

 

Today’s the Day: #GivingTuesday!

Today’s the day: #GivingTuesday!

 

Starting at 8:01 a.m. Uganda time (and 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time) every donation you make toward Alive Medical Services will help us gain additional funding from Global Giving – and every recurring gift you make will be matched 100%!

Starting today, each donation we receive from partners like you will go toward our work with women and children, helping those disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic live healthy, dignified lives. With your support, we’ll reach sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, and friends, many of whom have nowhere else to turn.

Why Women and Children?

Across the country, the rate of HIV among Ugandan women is higher than the rate of HIV among Ugandan men. Young women and adolescent girls are particularly affected by the epidemic, often times due to gender-based violence, sexual coercion and a lack of sexual and reproductive health information.

To truly end the spread of HIV, we must reach those most vulnerable to it. By supporting women who have already contracted the virus, we can not only save their lives, but stop HIV from spreading to their children.

Your #GivingTuesday contributions will help AMS:

  • Help women plan for the future by providing safe, effective family planning methods for those who want to space or delay pregnancy
  • Ensure safe deliveries by providing pregnant women with antenatal care
  • Prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV by counselling pregnant mothers and helping them adhere to their medication
  • Track the health status of babies born to HIV positive mothers, and provide families with the support they need to ensure their infants’ well-being
  • Engage young people in a diverse array of youth-centered programming, including peer support groups, counselling, music therapy, and more
  • Provide a platform for adolescents to draw support from one another, boost their confidence, learn practical skills, and educate their peers on health-seeking behaviors
  • And more!

How do I donate?

Visit Alive Medical Services’ Global Giving page to make an impact today! Click here to donate.

A Single Father’s Story of Love and Loss

Henry and his son, Richard, sit next to each other after Henry’s appointment at Alive Medical Services.

Henry’s wife passed away 25 years ago, but looking at him now, you’d think it happened yesterday. His body stiffens as he talks about her, pausing every so often to extract himself from the memories passing through his head.

“We didn’t know until it was too late,” Henry said. “And after she passed, everything changed.”

Back in 1993, Henry had barely realized what happened until his wife was gone. Henry contracted HIV from another partner and unknowingly passed it along to his wife. After she died, Henry was left to care for four children and his elderly mother, all the while battling HIV himself.

At the time, HIV was severely stigmatized in his community, making it difficult for Henry to openly seek help and treatment.

Henry would walk from health clinic to health clinic attempting to find antiretroviral medication. More often than not, he’d reach the pharmacy counter just to be turned away. It seemed that there were never enough antiretrovirals for everyone suffering, causing Henry’s health – and the wellbeing of his family – to drastically decline.

“I was so depressed during those years,” Henry said. “It was hard to get medication, and it was frustrating to have nowhere to go for help.”

Poor health, guilt and depression began to consume Henry, making it nearly impossible to work, feed his family, and gather the strength to keep on living. When he and his youngest son, Richard, came down with tuberculosis, they could barely afford the medication they needed to stay alive.

Eventually, a friend referred Henry to Alive Medical Services, a small clinic that had just opened up near Henry’s house. He has remained an active client ever since, returning again and again for treatment over the last 10 years.

“Without Alive, I wouldn’t have made it,” Henry said. “I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been, not just because I get free ARVs, but because I get free treatment of opportunistic infections too.”

After his health stabilized, Henry was able to recommit himself to his children, all of whom are HIV negative. Henry worked constantly to earn enough money for school fees. Because of that, his first three children now have families of their own – and his youngest son, Richard, just recently finished his degree. Richard now works as an electrician, and routinely accompanies his father to the clinic for check-ups.

“The counsellors at Alive helped me be strong for my children,” Henry said. “For any single fathers dealing with the same situation, I’d tell them this: push hard for your children.”

Thinking of his past, Henry recognized that often, men avoid HIV clinics. They don’t want to be seen there, he said, but they need to be more open to the idea.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting tested and treated,” Henry said. “It keeps you alive. Today, I’m proud to tell my story and show people how I’ve survived.”