Rose – MWENDO OVC
Rose is 13 years old from Kisii County. When she was enrolled in MWENDO OVC in April 2018 her Viral Load (VL) count was at 30,333 copies something that needed quick intervention to bring it to a low detectable level (LDL). The first step that the Community Health Volunteer (CHV) and the Social Worker attached to Life Skills Promoters-one of the LISP working with MWENDO OVC recommended, was to hold case conference to determine the root causes of the high VL and come up with practical ways to support Rose and her caregiver. A meeting was organized with the Area Advisory Council (AAC) and Rose’s extended family. The following issues were identified as contributing to the high VL: 1) lack of a stable caregiver, 2) Neglect, 3) No disclosure, 4) the household was highly vulnerable.
Case conferencing is a meeting involving a panel that consists of representatives supporting children -case workers, local leadership where the child resides and the child’s family. Case conferencing is a gathering through which members involved come up with solution best suited for the well-being of the child. Following the meeting, Rose was assigned a new caregiver -her maternal grandmother, Wilkister Nyabonyi.
Rose lived with her aunt whom she didn’t like. She spent most of her time home alone with no one to monitor whether she took her medication, went to school or even had her meals. She was equally subjected to physical punishment forcing her to run away from home.
The household assessment had established a low score thus the need for immediate intervention. They were enrolled on the MWENDO OVC Emergency Fund where they received KES12,000 in three installments of Ksh4000, in three months. Emergency Fund supports families to meet their immediate needs as they go through activities under the Project to provide long-terms solutions.
“My granddaughter had a torn school uniform, her fellow pupils would mock her, this contributed to her low self-esteem and her performance was bad. I used the funds given to me to buy her a new set of school uniform. Rose was so eager to go to school, she did not sleep that night,” said Wilkister amidst laughter.
The Emergency Fund also enabled Rose’s grandmother to prioritize their needs including providing regular nutritious meals, transport to the health facility to get Rose back on antiretroviral therapy (ART) among other things.
The other issue identified as leading to Rose’s high VL viral load was disclosure. Rose did not know why she needed to take her medication and neither did her grandmother. In this case, assisted disclosure was recommended and conducted.
“I didn’t know that my granddaughter was HIV positive. Neither did I know the importance of her taking her drugs,“ said Wilkister. “It was a big blow to us as a family, but I have learned to accept it and support her. My son keeps the drugs and so before she goes to school, he ensures that she takes her medication,” she added.
The Community Health Volunteer attached to Rose was also able to work with the school to identify a teacher who would support Rose by ensuring that she attends her clinic appointments as required.
“I have seen Rose’s health improve over time. As a CHV that gives me great joy because I get to see my efforts and that of the household bear fruits. When she joined the project, her viral count was so high but her recent result was at LDL ,” said Peter Nyamao, CHV, Life Skills Promoters.
With a multi-pronged approach, Rose’s viral load dropped from 30,333 copies in May 2018 to 10,000 copies in a period of three months. Her latest viral load count conducted in April 2019 established a VL count of 299.
Plans are in place to ensure Rose’s grandmother is supported to grow her income generating activity to boost their household income and for sustainability of the gains made thus far.