The CIDRZ Paediatric HIV Programme works with various partners including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health to improve the health of HIV exposed and infected children.
We engage in early identification of HIV infection and provision of supportive care and treatment with uninterrupted antiretroviral therapy according to national guidelines.
According to a 2010 report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 120,000 Zambian children aged 0 to 14 years are HIV positive. HIV accounts for approximately 10% of deaths among children below age 5.
Protecting the Health of HIV-infected Children
CIDRZ has endeavored to introduce provider initiated counselling and testing in all supported sites to ensure that every child that comes to a health facility for any service is offered counselling and testing. We also strive to identify HIV-infected children in the community by engaging lay community workers to screen children at community growth monitoring points and refer those who need counselling and testing to the clinic. To aid providers in making a definitive diagnosis in those less than 18 months of age, CIDRZ supports training, procurement of necessary supplies, and mentorship in early infant diagnosis to ensure timely enrollment of HIV-infected children into care. The CIDRZ Paediatric ART programme supports the provision of quality HIV management for all infected children – including orphans and vulnerable children – at our supported sites. We provide training, mentorship and technical support to site staff.
CIDRZ has spearheaded formation of peer support groups at all our supported sites.
Paediatric support groups focus on play therapy and information on adherence, hygiene and nutrition, while adolescent support groups focus on adherence, disclosure, hygiene, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, how to cope with stigma and discrimination, and future career options. Caregiver support groups emphasize information on HIV and how to take care of infected children, hygiene, nutrition, disclosure, adherence, and grief and bereavement counselling, among other topics.