Programmes that have now ended
In the 1990s, Mildmay was called upon to extend its expertise to some of the areas where HIV and AIDS were hitting hardest – firstly Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya then Zimbabwe and Rwanda and later into Eastern Europe. Mildmay International was established to administer these overseas projects.
As many of our funded projects concluded, Mildmay handed over a legacy of work to governments or local NGOs, marking the successful conclusion of many of our international programmes.
Boresha – Prisoners, Children and Healthcare Workers living with HIV
Children's support group
From 2010-1203, Mildmay Kenya and Tanzania carried out ‘Boresha’, a bold multi-country project which targeted key vulnerable populations infected and affected by HIV in Kenya and Tanzania. It was part-funded by the European Union.
The groups we worked with were prisoners, HIV positive healthcare workers and children. The aim was to improve access to comprehensive home and community-based support for these vulnerable groups.
‘Boresha’ means ‘to make better’ in Swahili, and the project certainly achieved this aim.
For prisoners, support groups were set up which provided Cell Based Care for sick inmates, first aid, counselling, care and support. Crucially these groups also challenged stigma and discrimination in the prison setting, and encouraged testing.
The groups extended to include the prison guards, thereby improving prisoner/guard relations and setting an example to the whole prison community. 14,330 prisoners were reached in the three years, compared with a target of 7,000.
Prisoners are a very under-served section of the population, receiving very little interest or support – despite the fact that prisons are a key source of new HIV infections.
For HIV positive healthcare workers, ten peer support groups were formed providing continuous medical education, public speaking and peer support – motivating and encouraging a group that often suffers from more stigma and discrimination than most.
For children, 150 support groups were formed for Children Affected by HIV+AIDS (CABA). These provided opportunities for children to play, receive counselling and training in life skills.
In the HIV Paediatric Centre at Kibagabaga Hospital, Kigali
Work with children
Before Mildmay started work in Rwanda, there was very limited specialist care for children living with HIV. This changed in 2009, when Mildmay opened the country’s first specialist HIV paediatric centre at Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali.
This specialist centre was the result of a partnership between Mildmay and Intrahealth International. The project was funded by USAID and also provided technical support in the introduction of HIV and AIDS services in four districts of Rwanda: Gasabo, Rulindo, Nyagatare and Gicumbi.
Staff at Kibagabaga trained community health workers and home-based care providers conducted nutrition demonstration classes and mobilised and supported carers in setting up income generation activities. Weekly children’s clubs for 100 children were also held at the centre. At the end of the project these activities were passed to the community to continue.
National Palliative Care Policy
In 2010, Mildmay International worked with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to develop and roll out the country’s first national palliative care policy. In March 2011, Mildmay celebrated a major milestone in Rwanda with the launch of this policy – a direct result of our work there. The policy will positively impact on people living with HIV and other illnesses across Rwanda.