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.
Between 2008 and 2011, Mildmay conducted palliative care training for Ministry of Health workers in Ukraine and training for faith-based drug rehabilitation workers in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Romania and Moldova.
Mildmay worked with the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition and Samaritan’s Purse to provide ongoing training for more than 120 staff and volunteers from Christian drug rehab centres in Ukraine.
The training covered basic HIV awareness and holistic care and treatment of people living with HIV. It was developed and led by Mildmay UK healthcare professionals who specialise in delivering complex HIV and AIDS palliative care and rehabilitation services
Training session cohort
Childrens HIV clinic
In 2003, Mildmay opened a paediatric HIV clinic centre at Harare Children’s Hospital, which it transferred to the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health in 2005. In the same year, we helped remodel community outreach and HIV training in Zimbabwe.
Investing in Child Health
Mildmay’s ‘Investing in Child Health’ programme in Zimbabwe ran from 2010 – 2012. It aimed to help 50,000 people infected or affected by HIV – many of them young children – across rural areas in the Matabeleland South region. The programme aimed not only to impact on young children, but also young adults, women, schools and community organisations.
The programme was funded by the European Union (EU) and run in partnership with the Zimbabwe Association of Church-related Hospitals (ZACH). The main aim of the programme was to directly improve the quality of life of
children living with HIV, as well as orphans and vulnerable children affected by the epidemic, by building and strengthening the capacity of community support and care networks.
During its span, the project provided 3,000 basic care packages and offered 3,100 children better care and support services, making life easier for 45,000 family members and carers. The project also trained 117 village health workers and 40 school teachers on paediatric care, antiretroviral therapy and how to support young girls. We also ran awareness workshops for 20 community leaders, preparing them to meet the needs of vulnerable children, especially those affected by HIV.
Peer support groups for vulnerable children, the community and carers were also set up. We built closer links between communities and clinics. Advocacy workshops for schoolmasters and village health workers also helped them to advocate better for the children they work with.
We have shared the results of our programme locally and nationally to help shape future policy.