ICAP News - November 2008

Families Come to Life Through Sculptures Painted by Children in Mozambique
A family-focused approach is a signature element of ICAP-supported HIV service programs. To seek insights into HIV-infected childrens’ perceptions of family, ICAP recently supported a series of painting workshops for children assisted at Mavalane Hospital in Mozambique.

“The concept of family can differ from culture to culture, and it also depends on a child’s social background,” said ICAP-Mozambique Technical Program Manager Denise Arakaki-Sanchez, MD, who conceived the workshops with Brazilian plastic artist Cida Lima. “One of the objectives of the workshops was to understand how Mozambican children see or dream about their own families.”

In the workshops, the children painted three-dimensional, paper-maché sculptures that represented the family unit graphic in the ICAP logo. Maria Grazia Lain, MD, ICAP-Mozambique pediatric advisor, and her colleagues observed that how the sculptures were painted provided unique insight into the patients’ lives, which might not be easily gleaned during clinical encounters.

“For the children,” said Lain, “painting the sculptures and working together gave them an immense sense of enjoyment and a unique opportunity to develop their senses of dedication and perseverance–qualities that will sustain them throughout their lives.”

An exhibition of more than 60 children’s sculptures was held in late November at the Mozambican-German Cultural Centre.

Photo caption: A child paints a paper-maché sculpture to depict his own idea of family.

For more about ICAP Mozambique, visit here.

Public Education Campaign Focuses on Both HIV and Tuberculosis in Nigeria Area
In an effort to identify individuals with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) as well as to provide information about both conditions, the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health in Nigeria recently launched a public education campaign in the Etim Ekpo local government area where ICAP supports HIV service programs.

At the campaign’s kickoff event, ICAP-supported health care workers provided free HIV counseling and testing to 318 people, as well as distributed condoms and literature about HIV treatment. Individuals who tested positive for HIV were referred to General Hospital Etim Ekpo for follow-up care and treatment and TB screening. Also, at the event, collections were taken for a Food Bank to provide nutritional support for people living with HIV/AIDS in the area.

A number of state and community leaders participated in the launch of the education campaign, including Mrs. Mbosowo Ekpotu, wife of the state's deputy governor; Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Health Dr. Louisa Ukpeh; Executive Chairman of the Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Barrister Ikpe Udoaka; and the permanent secretaries of the Ministry of Health and the state hospitals management board, Mrs. Comfort Ekaete and Dr. Val Attah, respectively.

For more about ICAP Nigeria, visit here.

Motorcycles Facilitate Initiation of HIV Treatment for Pregnant Women with HIV in Tanzania
ICAP has provided 12 motorcycles to district council health management teams in Pwani, Kagera, and Kigoma Regions of Tanzania, in support of their prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programs. The motorcycles are outfitted with specially designed cool boxes to stabilize blood samples during transport from health centers to district or regional hospital laboratories where CD4 cell counts and other tests are conducted.

Before the availability of these motorcycles, health centers had no reliable means for quickly delivering blood samples to laboratories. As a result, more than half of pregnant woman newly diagnosed with HIV could not obtain their CD4 results in a timely manner.

“Without CD4 results, health care providers could not properly stage these women and thus initiation of antiretroviral therapy was not possible,” said ICAP-Tanzania Country Director Amy Cunningham. “Now any woman visiting PMTCT centers in these networks will have access to CD4 testing and other essential blood tests for establishing their eligibility to initiate HIV treatment and to monitor their responses.”

In addition to strengthening PMTCT services, the availability of efficient sample transport systems will support early infant diagnosis and integrated tuberculosis/HIV care and treatment services.

Photo caption: A technician loads blood samples in a motorcycle's cool box for transport to a district laboratory.

For more about ICAP Tanzania, visit here.

Family Day Event at Swaziland Site Provides HIV Testing, Information About Care and Treatment Services
On Oct. 18, more than 450 adults and children participated in a Family Day activity at ICAP-supported Luyengo Clinic in Swaziland. The event was held to provide information about HIV and the availability of services at the clinic, and provide family members of clients with access to HIV counseling and testing.

At the event, a total of 83 people received HIV counseling and testing and 18 individuals tested positive. The latter were referred to the clinic for follow-up. In addition, nearly 70 individuals with HIV and their family members participated in information sessions on topics such as treatment adherence.

Luyengo Clinic was one of the first rural facilities in Swaziland to initiate HIV care and treatment under a nationwide initiative to decentralize HIV services. The clinic provides HIV care to 550 patients, including ART to 189 individuals. A primary focus is prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and provision of care and treatment to HIV-infected pregnant women, their children and partners, based on a family-focused approach. At Family Day, nearly one-third of all those who obtained HIV tests were men and three couples received HIV tests.

Family Day was conducted in collaboration with the Swaziland Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Population Services International, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Photo caption:At the Family Day event, Lembelele Dlamini, chief of the Luyengo community, encouraged members of the community to access HIV services at Luyengo Clinic.

For more about ICAP Swaziland, visit here.

A New Chapter for the South-to-South Partnership for Comprehensive Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment
Since its launch more than two years ago, the South-to-South Partnership for Comprehensive Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment (S2S) has hosted 31 training sessions for 275 health care workers from 11 African countries. The program, a collaboration between ICAP and Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in South Africa, is designed to build the capacity of clinicians to deliver pediatric HIV care and treatment based on a comprehensive, family-focused approach.

In October, the partnership entered a new phase. The program will now shift to providing direct technical support in pediatric HIV care and treatment to service sites and partner organizations in South Africa.

S2S, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, was instrumental in spurring the development of pediatric HIV care and treatment programs throughout Africa. Through didactic training and clinical immersions at Tygerberg Hospital’s Family HIV Clinic, participants developed skill sets to implement pediatric HIV programs at their own sites.

Participants lauded the program’s emphasis on the multidisciplinary approach and psychosocial care, as well as building clinical skills, such as monitoring growth and neuro-development.

Said one S2S participant, “For me, S2S was a strong reminder that children are not ‘small adults’ and that their care, especially the management of HIV and its complications, is both an art and a science.”

For the Stellenbosch S2S team, the program will be remembered for the friendships formed and the lively exchanges of experiences and knowledge.

Said S2S Program Manager Liezl Smit, MD, “The S2S program contributed to the strengthening of pediatric HIV care and treatment throughout Africa and I believe participants will continue to do remarkable work for children and families living with HIV.”

Photo caption: Clinical experiences at Tygerberg Children's Hospital were a hallmark of the South-to-South program.

For more about the South-to-South Program for Comprehensive Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment, visit here.