Barely a year after it was launched, the HIV/AIDS Paediatric Centre at Kibagabaga Hospital in Gasabo District, is already offering services to 157 children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
According to Antoinette Murebwayire, an employee at the centre, the facility today offers family-oriented specialist care.
“Of the children under our care, 65 have been confirmed to be infected with HIV while 82 are still under close follow up and routine testing to determine whether or not they could have acquired the virus from their mothers at birth,” Murebwayire said.
During the launch of the facility last year, medical officials noted that this was a step towards addressing the needs of HIV/AIDS affected and infected children.
Dr. Ida Kankindi of the Ministry of Health highlighted the significance of specialized palliative care for such children, citing that this is a way to improve their quality of life as she noted that the model will be introduced in all the other hospitals countrywide.
In relation to major services offered, Murebwayire said that the integrated model offers paediatric pain management, psycho-social support, children’s sports club and nutritional care among others.
“At the end of last year we also organized a fundraising ceremony to raise fees for some of these children. The turn up was good and we also received a number of volunteers from the US and in the country,” she added.
“These are now sponsoring some of the children and as per today, many can go to school which was not the case before.”
The official added that children are grouped according to age for quality service delivery and special programmes fixed during school days.
Kankindi said that there are about 180,000 children infected with HIV countrywide.
Introduced by the Ministry of Health, the centre is also supported by USAID, Mildmay International and Intra Health together with other partners, and it is the first of its kind in the country.