The Nutrition Centre Senga Bay opened its doors in February 2008 and currently assists 35 HIV positive children ensuring they have highly nutritious food, access to medical attention and emotional support. The project was designed by Richard Moyo, a villager from Mdalamkwanda village who is HIV positive and wanted to work with his fellow villagers to improve their access to treatment and care.
It ran from to
In Salima District, as in all Districts of Malawi, there are numerous people living with HIV , including children who have been born with the virus because of HIV positive parents. HIV is a virus which slowly destroys a person's ability to fight common diseases. Once their immune system is very weak, an HIV positive person begins to get sick very easily - this is AIDS. Many children do not know that they have the virus because they have not been for a test. Even those that do know can afford to do little about it. When any person tests positive for HIV the first doctor's order is to live as healthy a life style as possible, in order to give your immune system the best chance. HIV positive people are told to eat extra food and to make sure they eat a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately few Malawians, particularly orphaned children, are able to comply with these 'doctor's orders' because they simply can not afford to buy better food and many people are already malnourished. Malnourishment will speed up the progression of HIV and make it impossible for children to take drugs that fight the virus. People who are HIV positive need to visit the doctor frequently. They must have regular checkups and get treatment at the first sign of common illnesses otherwise these illnesses can spiral out of control. Once an HIV positive person is sick with AIDS they should take drugs that fight the HIV. To take these drugs they have to visit the hospital once a month to be monitored and renew their supply. The problem faced by many people, particularly children, is that they do not have the money it costs to go back and forth to the doctors. This means children who could benefit from free drugs to fight HIV are unable to get to their doctor to be given these life-saving drugs. There is serious stigma against people with HIV - a phenomenon found all over the world, not just in Malawi. Stigma makes life with HIV particularly difficult. It is important for people living with HIV to have somewhere that they can go to share their worries and also to have fun. It is all of these issues - essentially the gaps in the free treatment provided by the Malawian health system - which the nutrition centre addresses. The running costs of the project are ¬£1700 per month. There are 8 staff, the director, nutrition specialist, women and children outreach worker, teacher, two cooks, and a watchman. We are fundraising to buy a mini-bus and pick-up which will generate income for the project and also provide a means of transport for accessing medical attention.
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