Anandaghar – the joyous nest
Quality residential care, support & hospice programme
Children Living with HIV/AIDS (CLHA) in West Bengal, India
The issue background-
Children living with HIV(CLHA), buds that never bloomed
- More than 1500 children become infected with HIV every day
- The HIV/AIDS pandemic causes approximately 7,400 new infections and 5,500 deaths daily
- Nearly 1,200 children under 15 years of age are infected with HIV every day, most as a result of mother-to-child transmission of the virus
India Country Progress Report, HIV/AIDS – UNGASS 2010 (United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS)
- No reliable estimate of affected (by HIV/AIDS) children in the country
- India possibly has 1,50,000 vertically infected children - UNICEF
- 1,500,000 children orphaned by AIDS - UNICEF
- 7,000,000 children with HIV positive parents (all above estimates are not mutually exclusive) UNICEF
- 57,000 children are estimated to be infected at birth each year in India – NACO
- NACO is yet to finalise estimate of children living with HIV
- Out of over 70,000 children living with HIV registered in 2009, only approximately one third received ART
- NACO has instituted 10 orphanages for HIV positive children in the whole country
- There is not much data on the failure rate on the nevirapine based ART in children
- About 3,300 children registered children living with HIV/AIDS
- 6 out of every 554 children living on the streets of Kolkata are HIV Positive – NICED
Data sources: UNAIDS, UNICEF
Under this backdrop –
Anandaghar – the joyous nest
- Presently is providing shelter to 50 CLHA (Children living with HIV/AIDS)
- Providing community support to 300 CLHA (Children living with HIV/AIDS)
- taking care of education of CLHA amidst stiff stigma & discrimination
- working on clinical management of CLHA
- delivering psychological support to children
- working on estimate of CLHA in West Bengal
- aiming at 150 children in near future under residential care and support programme
- developing institution based care & support programmes for CLHA
- going to develop a specialized maternity care service to help giving birth to Non HIV positive children of HIV positive mother
Story of ‘Joy’: - the genesis
It was 14th February of 2004. OFFER got a call from Lake Town Police Station, requesting for shelter of a 4 days old kid abandoned on the street! OFFER which since 1986 remained focused on bettering childhood, embraced Joy without knowing that after confirmatory blood test this baby will be diagnosed having HIV!! Joy, translating into ‘ananda’ in Bengali, inspired to built up the only quality residential care & support programme for kids living with virus in Kolkata! Anandaghar – the joyous nest is now the home for 42 children, mostly orphans, living with HIV/AIDS. In coming days Anandaghar is moving towards catering to 150 children, all living with the virus!
- Anandaghar has turned death into life!
- Anandaghar has shown how children can teach us to live!
- Anandaghar is the living example, how love can fight back even dreaded HIV!
- Anandaghar is going to raise voice for all children living with HIV/AIDS for whom till now there is total silence in policy!
The Residential Care Unit of Anandaghar started with Joy, the abandoned neonatal baby without parental identity. In 2010 number of residents in Anandaghar has grown up to 50 and in touch with 300 more ranging age group of three to thirteen years.
- Stigma & discrimination mixed with poverty is reaping childhood from children living with HIV/AIDS
- Due to death of parents these kids are becoming orphans having no takers & dying on the streets
- Non availability of quality & affordable health care for children with HIV/AIDS in West Bengal/ India
- Stigma & discrimination marginalizing children with HIV in the mainstream and depriving off educational rights
- Dearth of research on pediatric HIV and related complications resulting to poor availability of services
- Developing exemplary affordable & accessible care & protection programmes for children living with HIV/AIDS
- Making issue of Children Living with HIV/AIDS (CLHA) a policy priority in India
Anandaghar is now working on ‘Atmaja’ – bourn out of soul, the way out towards eliminating vertical infection from India. Under this programme, Anandaghar is catering to HIV positive prospective mothers with the latest in HIV treatment so that they can give birth to children not having HIV. In the country having more than 2 lacks children carrying the virus this innovation will lead to a dawn when any children of a HIV positive mother will see the lights of this earth having no infection. ‘Atmaja’ is poised to lead India towards a newer position of respect.
Future Plan: The Hospital
The Residential Care Unit of Anandaghar provides long term care for the cero positive children while from the beginning a Hospital for providing short/medium term medical support for the children were planned. Hospital Unit is partly readied with its own infrastructure of laboratory, imaging section, physiotherapy unit and counseling section. Presently, the hospital can offer its service to 30 children at a stretch including 12 infants with a plan to extend its service to 100 children by the end of year 2009. Added to the short-term residential care facility the hospital looks for providing nutritional support for the children. The hospital will also give, Treatment for the children with opportunistic infection and other bacterial infection. All other health related support including specialized testing like Elisa, Flowcymetry, Real Time PCR and drug resistance. All kind of pathological investigations surgical indoor facilities are available with minor operation theater. Counseling, recreational and play therapy for the children are also available. Outdoor facilities without department, dispensing unit, tele - counseling facility are available at the center. Referral network for ART has strengthened. Support and training services offered to the family members and family case management for coordinating the Provisional Supports. Once fully realized the Hospital Unit will also be unique in its kind since such integrated is still dear in state. The hospital is envisaged as a strong support for the children of Residential Care Unit as well for the children living with HIV with certain degree of parental support. With focused on pediatric HIV issue, the Hospital can also function as a research cell find new low to support children infected with HIV