Sixty children living with HIV/Aids from Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Lindi and Tabora regions have been trained on adopting a positive attitude to make them remain healthy.
The five-day training, which was organised by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, (EGPAF), was meant to make the beneficiaries lead a healthier life, use antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), as well as raising children’s hope.
EGPAF is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to preventing paediatric HIV infection.
The children’s club members are supported by EGPAF, through Ariel Clubs, in memory of Ariel Glaser, the son of Elizabeth Glaser, founder of EGPAF, who was HIV+ and lost her battle in 1994. The 60 children who are under 18, were picked from 4,341 children in the said regions.
EGPAF Communication coordinator, Mercy Nyanda, said: “This is the third time that the foundation has brought together children with HIV/Aids from different centres…with the aim of empowering them with special training package on how they can handle living with HIV/Aids…”
The training includes understanding youth related issues and biological changes during their teen age and their future life as well as giving them opportunity to learn from each other.
Since 2010, EGPAF has been in the forefront in giving chance to children living with HIV/Aids to exchange views and experiences with their colleagues from other regions, where the foundation is operating and offering training and treatments to those children, who are members of Ariel Clubs.
EGPAF associate technical director Chrispine Kimario said through those clubs, youngsters will be good ambassadors, who can easily pass the knowledge to other youths.
“This will also encourage youths to voluntarily get tested and start using ARVs at early stages in their respective areas,” she said.
She said the foundation is geared to support the rapid expansion of the best available interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, while ensuring the long-term health and survival of HIV positive pregnant women and mothers and HIV exposed infants.
For his part, HIV/Aids coordinator from Mount Meru Regional Hospital Dr Isir Ismail, who was the chief guest called on parents and guardians to ensure that children living with HIV/Aids get timely access to medication.
“Parents are responsible for making a close follow-up on child’s medications especially the use of ARVs. This will help to make children live healthier lives, get encouraged and bring them hope,” he said.
He commended EGPAF for coming up with the initiative, which has proved to be an effective tool towards health of children living with HIV/Aids.
Currently, EGPAF is working in collaboration with district councils in six regions including Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Shinyanga, Mtwara and Lindi, under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.