If you are a child infected or affected by HIV/AIDS

Every December 1 since 1988, the whole world commemorates World AIDS Day. AIDS is an incurable disease which affects millions of people from different races and age groups around the world. Initially, suffering from AIDS was a death sentence. However, through tireless efforts, there are now ways to ensure that those who contract the disease live long and healthy lives. 

One such effort in Rwanda is enacting N° 20/32 of 05/12/2013 Ministerial Order Determining Programs and Strategies to Ensure Protection and Assistance to Children Infected or Affected by HIV/AIDS.

Article 3 of the Ministerial Order spells out the responsibilities of the care provider — the medical personnel. The care provider is expected to provide adequate care to a child above twelve (12) years even if the child is not accompanied by parents or a guardian.  He/she also ought to ensure that the child follows his/her treatment in addition to providing psychosocial assistance, effective and efficient monitoring and facilitating access to the support system at the level of the healthcare facility.  

The school where a child who is infected by HIV/AIDS studies is expected to provide a place where the child can take antiretroviral drugs in confidentiality. Additionally, the school is expected to designate a person to monitor the child to ensure that he/she respects medical appointments, ensure his/her control of biological and immunological state and give the child all needed assistance.

A person who suits the abovementioned role should be trained in HIV/AIDS counselling. This is according to article 4 of the Ministerial Order Determining Programs and Strategies to Ensure Protection and Assistance to Children Infected or Affected by HIV/AIDS.

In article 5, the Ministerial Order spells out the responsibilities of a parent or guardian of a child infected with HIV/AIDS. This includes encouraging the child to be regularly diagnosed of HIV/AIDS, assisting the child to access financial, medial and psychosocial support, and encouraging the child in discussions related to reproductive health.

Article 6 of the Ministerial Order Determining Programs and Strategies to Ensure Protection and Assistance to Children Infected or Affected by HIV/AIDS provides for the right to medication for children in boarding school, while article 7 provides for the right to give opinion. The right to give opinion entails giving opinion on any decision on possible change in follow-up and knowing the consequences that a child suffering from HIV/AIDS may face.  It also includes being encouraged to join support groups to interact with peers.

People living with HIV/AIDS need to take healthy foods to have a strong immune system. For this reason, the Ministerial Order provides for nutritional support.

Children infected by HIV/AIDS also have the right to information on family planning, modes of HIV/AIDS transmission to avoid infecting other people, information on reproductive health, the desire to be pregnant and post exposure prophylaxis. This is according to article 10 of the Ministerial Order Determining Programs and Strategies to Ensure Protection and Assistance to Children Infected or Affected by HIV/AIDS.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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