People Living with AIDS (PLWA) need supplies and care, but access in Kenya is often hindered by a lack of mobility. AMURT’s goal is to provide 1000 people with nursing care, nutritional education, counseling and support, including the task of keeping patients on their medicine. To qualify, candidates must conform to AMURT’s recruitment criteria, namely being in AIDS stage III or IV, and living in poverty without treatment supporters. Upon recruitment, each PLWA is assigned to a Home-Based Care provider who will visit at least once a month.HBC Providers
The 120 HBC providers are dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of people living with AIDS, and are integral to AMURT’s mission in Kenya. They receive training in both theory and field practice by experts from Kenya’s Ministry of Health, and are then assigned to care for 6-9 PLWA in their locale through home visits and referrals. Kits were given to the HBC providers containing recommended materials from the National Aids and STI Program (NASCOP), and were tremendously appreciated by both caregivers and patients, who reported the cure of bedsores and other skin and dental conditions. Knowledge is also passed to friends and relatives of patients so that care can continue on a more frequent basis.
Through regular massage and care, 12 patients who were bedridden for at least 3 months managed to regain mobility. Through supportive and disclosure counseling, more than 43 couples have disclosed their HIV status to their friends and relatives. Early detection of TB has been another success of the program, with 46 TB patients provided with medicine and adherence counseling, and 4 patients suffering from spinal TB have been referred for treatment and rehabilitative physiotherapy. In cases where AMURT cannot provide assistance, referrals can get a sick person help. During 2010, 163 patients were referred to ART comprehensive care centers for ARV and OI treatment, while 13 were referred for TB treatment. 61 PLWAs were referred to existing support groups within close proximity to their homes for their emotional well being, and 27 living in food insecure situations were linked up with local government food relief agencies for this vital support.
We asked PLWA to describe any changes they have seen in themselves as a result of the HBC provider’s visits. 29 respondents generated 37 responses about how different aspects of the program had benefited their life.
65% referred to the respondents’ health. Other responses cited improvements from counseling, support groups and overcoming stigma.
“My health has improved. I am able to bathe myself and move around without support. I am taking my (ARV) medicine regularly.”
“I have fought against the stigma, have declared my status, and now feel free. I have been given advice in farming from the support group.” “I feel more positive about life. I have overcome the stigma. I take my medicine regularly.”
“I was given a referral to Homa Bay hospital, and received good treatment there. I got free service. I now go weekly there. The growth on my leg has reduced from fist size to thumb size. I received counseling and food. I now have a positive attitude.”
“I received counseling on adherence to the medicine. Now I am regular in taking my medicine because of the psycho-social support. I was also given food. I have really improved and can now walk. I have been given advice on positive living.”
“I have decided to abstain from sex to protect my body. I am aware of positive living, and adhere strictly to my medicine.”
“My provider helps me live in a positive way. She suggested I got tested. Once I was tested, she guided me. I can contact her whenever I get sick. The support group gives me spiritual strength. My health is now stable.”