Program Offers Kenyan Children Hope, Health

<b>Program Offers Kenyan Children Hope, Health </b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans, feeling overwhelmed by problems at home, might forget the people facing tough times abroad. Take Kenya. Although the country’s politics stabilized in 2007, the nation faces dismal health issues.

According to 2006 UNICEF statistics, 175,000 Kenyan children die each year before seeing their fifth birthday. Twenty percent of the children who are still living experience moderate to severe malnourishment.

And where there are unhealthy children, there are unhealthy parents. In 2006, UNICEF estimated that 750,000 Kenyan women, ages 15 and older, lived with HIV/AIDS. Without the treatments available in the U.S., mother-to-child HIV infection rates proved high — 35 percent of the children born to infected mothers contract the disease. Many of these children eventually lose their parents. In 2006, 2.3 million orphans lived in Kenya — 1.1 million lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

Kenya’s health care system is unable to provide for its citizens. Few hospitals exist, and they find themselves overwhelmed. Patients often share beds. Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital asks patients’ families to provide food and medicine.

Foreign charities are helpful in bringing much-needed health care to Kenyan mothers and children. For example, Bread and Water for Africa, a project of Christian Relief Services that promotes positive change in Africa by supporting grassroots initiatives for self-sufficiency, health and education, is currently working to build a health center. The Lewa Community Health Center in the town of Eldoret will not only provide health care, but also help establish a sense of community.

Medical personnel will find jobs. Patients will have access to quality care. The locals displaced by political turmoil in 2007 will find reason to return to their homes.

In tough economic times, many Americans struggle to make ends meet. But even small donations can add up in big ways — a few dollars can go a long way toward improving the life of a Kenyan child.

For more information, visit www.africanrelief.org.

Survey Shows Unique Needs of HIV-Positive Women Often Not Addressed

<b>Survey Shows Unique Needs of HIV-Positive Women Often Not Addressed</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – There are now an estimated 300,000 women in the United States living with HIV/AIDS. New findings from the “Women Living Positive” survey show that a communication gap exists between women living with HIV and their health care providers when it comes to having important discussions about HIV and its treatment that meet their individual needs.

More than half of women surveyed (55 percent) say they have never discussed with their health care provider how HIV medications might affect women differently than men.

“With the rise of HIV infections in women, it is important that women living with HIV and their health care providers maintain open lines of communication and discuss important topics including their emotional well-being, family planning considerations and care that best meets their health and lifestyle,” said Kathleen Squires, M.D., director of Infectious Diseases and Environmental Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College.

In addition, each year more than 6,000 HIV-positive women in the United States give birth. The survey shows that many HIV-positive women and their health care providers aren’t discussing how HIV treatment options might affect a pregnancy until after they conceive.

More than half of respondents (52 percent) identify themselves as caregivers. Forty-three percent of women feel that living with HIV has made taking care of their families “much more,” or “somewhat more,” difficult.

“We hope the “Women Living Positive” survey findings will encourage more discussion between women and their health care providers about HIV medications that best meet their individual needs,” said Dawn Averitt Bridge, founder and chair of the Board of The Well Project, a non-profit organization for women affected by HIV, and an HIV-positive mother.

The survey was supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in collaboration with The Well Project.

GfK Roper Public Affairs conducted the survey with 700 U.S. women, aged 21 and over, diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and on HIV treatment for three or more years. The women interviewed were part of three different ethnic or racial groups -; African-American, Caucasian and Hispanic.

For more information about the “Women Living Positive” survey, visit www.thewellproject.org.

Walking the Walk for AIDS

<b>Walking the Walk for AIDS</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – UNAIDS estimates that more than 37 million adults and 2 million children are infected with HIV worldwide. The AIDS epidemic has hit the hardest in sub-Saharan Africa, where 75 percent of the women ages 15 to 24 are infected.

Closer to home, 40,000 people per year in the U.S. are infected, more than half of whom are African-American women. The latter group by itself accounts for 72 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in women.

In the face of these overwhelming statistics, what can be done? Some corporations are making a difference with contributions to charities supporting the cause and helping in other ways.

For example, Roche, a pharmaceutical company that developed the HIV protease inhibitors Invirase and Viracept, has not filed any patents for its medicines – including those for HIV/AIDS – in the least-developed nations and sub-Saharan Africa. This means that these countries, which are devastated by the epidemic, can manufacture and sell cheap, generic versions of the drugs without waiting for the patents to expire.

The company also is dedicated to increasing awareness of the illnesses.

“Roche is committed to driving social responsibility programs that increase awareness and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the local and international level,” said George Abercrombie, president and CEO, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of Roche.

Beyond this, Roche and its employees are working more directly to address the problem through the company’s annual Global Employee AIDS Walk in observance of World AIDS Day.

Roche employees have been participating in the walk for more than two years. In December 2005, more than 11,000 employees from 85 affiliates in 42 countries walked to raise funds for AIDS organizations. The money raised through their pledges was matched by the company.

Some of the funds are distributed to local HIV/AIDS organizations. In New Jersey, for example, funds will go to the NJ AIDS Partnership. The rest goes to children in Malawi, Africa, who have been orphaned by AIDS. The money goes to buy everything from food and clean water to shelter, books and sewing machines.

HIV is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected or – less commonly – through transfusions of infected blood. Babies of HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breast feeding.

For more information on HIV and AIDS, call (800) 458-5231 or visit www.cdc.gov/ hiv/pubs/facts/transmission.htm or www.thebody.com.

Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission

<b>Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Life changed for Dorothy Samson in an Indian orphanage. Seeing the incredible needs of the children there, the Colorado resident knew she could make a difference.

So started a journey that led her to Compassion International and its unique child sponsorship program. Now, after just five years working with the ministry, 25 children count on Samson for prayers, letters and support.

“They crawl up into my lap; they call me ‘Auntie Dorothy,'” Samson said. “They are my children.”

Although Samson never had children of her own, that didn’t stop her from sharing her love and compassion with little ones.

“I always wanted to have 12 children with an abundance of boys,” Samson said.

From her home in Grand Junction, Samson began her Compassion sponsorship experience in 1999 with four children from India and one from Haiti. That number soon grew to 13 children, and she got that abundance of boys.

Later, when she learned that there was a need for sponsors for African children, she didn’t hesitate to take on even more.

“Compassion told me that there was a lack of sponsors for African children because of the HIV/AIDS problem,” Samson said. “I can understand people wanting to invest their money in children who are certain to grow up to be healthy, productive adults. But all children are precious, even those who might be HIV-positive. They aren’t responsible for having the disease – they are innocent victims, and they, too, deserve the opportunity to have a happy childhood and to be loved and cared for.”

Responding to the need, Samson sponsored 12 African children – eight of them in Uganda. And in September 2002, she spent five special days with “my youngsters,” as she refers to them. She treated her children to a game park, a safari and a boat ride to see hippos.

“Of course, the kids were so excited. They’d never seen animals in the wild or even taken a boat ride. It was wonderful to see their excitement,” Samson said.

Since she’s returned from Africa, Samson has had several opportunities to share her experience and tell others about her precious Ugandan children, several of whom have already had to deal with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, having lost parents, siblings and other close relatives to the disease.

“I don’t know if any of my children have the disease,” Samson said. ” I pray that they do not. But it would never change how I feel about them. I love them as my own children. My hope for them is that they can have a happy childhood and become all they can be in Jesus – free from AIDS.”

When Compassion International opened its first projects in Uganda in 1980, the scourge of HIV/AIDS had not yet affected the world. Little did anyone know that only a few years later, many of the children Compassion serves in Uganda would battle the effects of this deadly, incurable disease. Compassion International currently ministers to more than 164,000 children in five countries in East Africa.

Compassion International partners with local churches to help implement development programs for children in their communities. To learn more, visit www.compassion.com or call 1-800-336-7676.