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HOUSEHOLD ECONOMIC STRENGTHENING KEY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV

John’s father feeding his poultry at their home

“This project has really transformed our lives. We had reached a point of giving up in life, but the project team came to our aid. The staff assessed our needs and after sometime, we were given an emergency fund, paid chest X-ray for my son, and catered for hospital medication.” John’s father narrated.

Twelve-year old John, not his real name, is a child living with HIV from Kilifi County. His parents are also on HIV care and treatment and three of his siblings are HIV negative. John’s condition started getting worse as days went by. He lost his weight and hair. At some point, he was bedridden, and his family was required to pay medical laboratory examination fees. They were worried of losing their son since they could not afford the money. John could no longer go to school due to his deteriorating health.

His father was the sole breadwinner for the family. He recalls how he was involved in road accidents on separate occasions, and sustained back injury. To the family, their father was a strong pillar, and a source of hope of every day. “Life became more complicated when I was told by the doctor to refrain from doing heavy workload due to the back injuries I had sustained, I can no longer do heavy work, neither can I travel for long distances. I lost my job due to this condition.” James, not his actual name, the father of four narrated.

To enable the household become stable, USAID Tujitegemee supported the family to buy some chicken for poultry farming, and to start a vegetable-kitchen garden. This has enabled the household to eat nutritious diet, and get some money to pay for medical emergency.

John’s father examining his vegetable garden

His mother hopes to become a fish monger once she gets some financial boost. “I joined a business saving group hoping that in future I can access a loan to start this business for my household sustainability and resilience. This business will pay school fees for my school going children, and emergency fund for medication.”

This household has been enrolled on the M-Health platform where they receive health messages. The father has also been trained on Care of Careers package, to enable him to take care of his son living with HIV.

John can now smile. His hair is growing, and he can now comfortably play with his peers. John was recently re-enrolled back to school to continue pursuing his dream. According to the Kilifi County Hospital Comprehensive Care Centre in-charge, John has shown tremendous improvement in health and general body growth.

John is among 2,006 children living with HIV in Kilifi County who are directly benefiting from various interventions under USAID Tujitegemee project.