News in South Africa
Recovered and healthy again
During August 2005 the OLIVE LEAF Foundation (OLF) rolled-out the Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programme in Mayibuye Primary School in Soweto. In the same year the programme started, a young 7 year old girl, Palesa* joined. Palesa was an active, ambitious and talented girl however she appeared to look younger, smaller and frailer than her peers from the same age group. Palesa dreamed of becoming a nurse when she finished school.
During February 2007 Palesa became ill. She was in and out of hospital and as a result absent from school most days. There was a time when Palesa was absent from school for an entire week. There was great concern for the situation whereupon the OLF Co-ordinator and the School’s HIV Co-ordinator, decided to conduct a home visit to the family. Whilst visiting Palesa’s home, the co-ordinators were told by her sister and grandmother that she had been taken to hospital by their neighbours, as her grandmother could not manage to walk the long distance to the hospital. The Co-ordinators learnt that both Palesa’s parents had passed away when she was very young and tragically, while Palesa was in hospital, her grandmother passed away.
Palesa was discharged from hospital after some time under the care of her sister. OLF referred Palesa to the Department of Health’s Antiretroviral Treatment Clinic (ART) in Soweto where she was placed on treatment the same day she went to the clinic. OLF requested that Palesa’s neighbour monitor the adherence to her medication. Her health improved gradually with the help of treatment, frequent home visits for emotional support and food parcels for the family. After a month Palesa returned to school a healthier child.
Palesa today is healthy and a happy a 10 year old child! She is still part of the Kidz Club that OLF runs in the community and she receives continual support from the Department of Health (for the ARVs) and the school that she attends.
*Palesa not her real name.
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