Project Thooli – Care of children infected, affected by AIDS in Chennai metropolis.

A HIV care program for children infected, affected by AIDS in Chennai metropolis a pioneering effort by CHES and has been acclaimed as a model project. Initial home care were all adult centric and it was CHES which initiated and developed a child centeric HIV Home based Care program.

The home visits are planned and done after written consent of the parents/guardians. The team used many innovative methods to reach children from changing the time of visit, addressing general issues, conducting educational sessions etc; During home visit social workers/community nurse build the capacity of the entire family including that of the child by helping them learn the correct information’s on all health aspects including on health, hygiene, nutrition, routine pediatric care, OI identification, management of simple symptoms at home and more about HIV and AIDS. Based on the structured need assessment Care plans are developed for each child and followed. There are more than 1000 children on the follow up.

As part of service provision CHES has developed by developed a resource directory for families so that the families can link independently to such supports. Family members are trained as caregivers through a structured two-day training based on the module “NURTURED HOPE”. Children living with HIV are linked to government run ART centers, TB screening, ICTC etc; the families are assisted to disclose their status to family members and follow up supported is provided. The project became more specialized when the counselors started to use child friendly tools to reach children and the biggest success was when they started to talk to children about HIV and their status. Participation of children was
the hallmark of this program and this happened through Life skill education and through children club activities where in child peer educators came in to active force. Volunteer’s strength improved in support of the program and PLHA women were enrolled in Self Help groups. As an outcome of the Life skill education sessions children court has emerged.