Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Majeco Catholic Mission Kenya
Post date: Jul 24, 2012 4:40:23 AM
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Majeco Catholic Mission Kenya.
Identified HIV/Aids Patients in the parish and formed an Aids Palliative based care support group. Identified needs of HIV
- Victims of HIV/Aids
- Aids Orphans
- Children living with Aids
- HIV/Aids Group needs for purposes of counselling and Home Care support.
We identified and counselled the victims, provided food, clothing and basic medicines for HIV/Aids patients, and we also provide the school uniforms for the identified and extremely vulnerable Aids 10 Orphans. They planted vegetables in a leased farm where the victims are collectively caring for the farm, continuing to provide food and medicine for the very poor to ward off opportunistic infections. Currently there are over 65 adults and 10 HIV infected children and several orphans
The government of the Republic of Kenya has, through the ministries of Health accelerated access to the antiretroviral drugs throughout the country. The national average incidence of HIV/Aids pandemic is 6%. However, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics – Kenya, in slums and informal settlements, which are mostly inhabited by low class members, the HIV/Aids prevalence rate is currently upwards of 17% of the population in the church catchment area.
The major problem facing the people who are infected are:
- Lack of food
- Poor shelter
- Coping with Stigma
- Living in denial
- Opportunistic infections
- Acceptance by the community
- Lack of counselling services
- Access to quality health care
- Financial constraints
Project Grant from MSC Mission Office Australia Inc
Upon application for a grant, we received with thanks a grant for the HIV/Aids home based care project from MSC Mission Office Australia Inc of $4,959.40 (please note that out of the original grant of $5,000 the balance was used as Bank Transfer charges.) We endeavoured to raise an additional $1823 from other sources including Parish councils and other local sources.
The project’s main aim was to alleviate suffering for the known poor, HIV/Aids sufferers, reduce stigma, start and run a project for the HIV/Aids victims and to commence and progressively allow voluntary counselling and testing to facilitate acceptance of the HIV Status and take remedial action in time; To encourage all people to test voluntarily and take steps towards acceptance of their HIV status and be useful to the society. The same was also meant to and to encourage behavioural change. We also set out to reduce the effect of ARV drugs among the urban poor, especially through food supplementation. To reduce stigma and loneliness, the subjects were encouraged to have a project of their own to:
- Keep them busy
- Generate income
- Reduce loneliness
- Supplement their food income
- Be useful to the community
- Reduce stigma
- Encourage acceptance of status.
Specific Financial Expenditure
The specific financial expenditure for the period under review per month is included. Kindly note that the number kept fluctuating depending on:
- State of health
Initially the project had 75 subjects. However, once the rollover project was introduced some felt that they were entitled to free food without working or participating in counselling. They thus left and about 65 active beneficiaries are now involved in the project. They soldiered on and others came in. The grand total of beneficiaries is over 80 as others came and left and we are left with a constant number of about 65 adults. The others who were shy at first kept away but are now coming in and the numbers are swelling. The members have a group counselling and feedback with the parish priest every two weeks.
People were still stigmatised and sometimes could not feel comfortable to be in the groups, lest their relatives know their status. This was complicated, especially for female participants who were mostly discriminated against by their relatives. Some left for rural areas because of the stigma. AIDS has not been completely accepted as a medical condition. Most people believe in a moral and sin issue.
We lost one member in March 2012 due to the complications related to the subject HIV/Aids opportunistic infections.
Most subjects left for rural homes when their condition worsened. This was apparently to await death. They wanted to avoid transport costs for their bodies in the eventuality of their death. Please note that the communities residing around the church are urban migrants and mostly insist on burials at the far off ancestral homes.
State of Health
As stated, some who had their health improved after the counselling went back to normal lives and stopped attending collective sessions. Then there are those whose health had deteriorated badly and had to leave to:
- Unknown places
- Be chased away by relatives without informing the project manager for remedial action.
- Move to ancestral/rural homes.
There were also new entrants to the church catchment area. The entire parish area covers approximately 45 square kilometres. The population especially of the catholic is about 12,500. From the national average approximately 750 minimum could be suffering from HIV/Aids. Out of the expected given the 45% poverty index, it is expected that the target group should be about 340 people. Only 60-70 adults and 20 children have volunteered. Thus we have been able to penetrate 26% in the short span of less than 8 months. We expect the numbers to rise in coming months.