The Patongo Orphans Infants’ Health Rehabilitation Centre (PAORINHER) is a life-saving health clinic and psychosocial support centre for children with HIV with an on-site primary school.
The clinic provides a comprehensive range of clinical and social services to children living with HIV, including health screening, monitoring of drug use, treating infections, nutritional support and counselling. Between February and October 2014, the number of children receiving treatment and support for HIV rose from 215 to 371, 201 of whom are girls.
The Staff at PAORINHER conduct extensive outreach programmes to educate more people about the realities of HIV, promote the re-integration of previously ostracised families and identify individuals in need of their services. Their innovative methods include radio advertising, leafleting, establishing village health teams and even running sports days to engage young people from a wide area. There have seen significant improvements over the course of 2014, with more and more people coming out to be tested and to access treatment and support. A system of local community volunteers is to be established, in order to widen the outreach even further. Funding for their training is an important target in 2015/16.
The primary school at PAORINHER provides education to 250 girls and 266 boys, at least 10 percent of whom are living with HIV. This not only increases access to education in the wider community, but also helps to break down the stigma surrounding HIV. All of the children receive clinical checks, nutrition and sexual reproductive health education.
One of the aims of PAORINHER is to provide nutrition to vulnerable HIV infected children. The approach is now changing from providing food parcels to HIV positive children to family livelihood support – helping the most vulnerable families to produce their own food.
HART’s Winter 2014 newsletter included an article from our partners at PAORINHER, a clinic and school for HIV positive children in northern Uganda. The article documents their achievements over the course of 2014, and their hopes for the future. You can read it here [see pages 8-9).
In April 2014, HART staff visited the Centre and spent a week with the PAORINHER staff. On our return to the UK, we issued an urgent fundraising appeal on PAORINHER’s behalf and can be viewed here.