A MULTI-FACETED RESPONSE BY A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAM
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Village Outreach Programme
The Outreach Programme began in 2000, primarily in response to the growing number of HIV and AIDS infections. It was the pre-antiretroviral medicines era and death was a constant companion. However, the Sisters and their dedicated and compassionate staff, provided home nursing care and soon after, a community centre to give much needed social support. They began working in liaison with the provincial hospitals – providing transportation and advocacy - with the hospitals referring cases discharged, for follow-up by the team. With project participants from a 171 villages, access to anti-retroviral drugs, made available in 2003 through formal health care servers in the hospitals, made longevity possible but pivotal to our programme, is the commitment to making it a life worth living. We are currently supporting 494 adults and 23 children living with HIV.
NB: On 7 June 2016, it was announced, that by WHO standards, Thailand had eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, becoming the first country in Asia and the Pacific region and also the first with a large HIV epidemic to ensure an AIDS-free generation.
While we are still locating older children in our new target area who are HIV+, we can see a ‘rosy’ future, where our current group of 23 infected children will continue to decrease, as each one reaches adulthood.
Strong relationships, a holistic approach and hope, are key to the success of this programme. Relationships built on trust - between our outreach staff and medical personnel in the provincial hospitals; our Staff and those living with HIV/Aids served by the project; and most importantly, current project participants, who know what it is like to live with HIV, who can encourage and inspire newcomers.
The medicine available for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, goes a long way to prolong life, yet alone it is useless. More is needed and that ‘more’ is summed up in a quote from a visitor to our centre :
“Absolutely incredible what a little bit of medicine, a lot of unconditional love and hope, and people with strong faith, who deeply care can do, to give strength and the ‘will to live’, to those living with HIV.”
Outreach is at the heart of the programme. Whether the first contact is made through our Outreach Team - social workers, health providers, our hospital liaison staff or the project participants themselves - if one is approached with compassion, friendship and inclusion, it is likely that a positive relationship will be formed and therefore, appropriate services accessed successfully.
With the increased knowledge and experience of the sisters and staff, strong relationships with main stream medical personnel and the growing capabilities and commitment of project participants, we have been able to introduce long term programmes reliant on the participants themselves, for management and sustainability.
Current Project Needs
Donations towards monthly patients' expenses - sanitary items/ nutritional supplements in the Care Facility
Contributions towards the construction of a new three patient room TB isolation unit in the Garden of Friendship
Social welfare support and emergency relief for families visited by the Outreach Team in the villages
A holistic approach to healing and a hope filled approach to living