Making comprehensive care for HIV a reality in Indian slums
Bhavishya is a Sanskrit word that means “looking towards the future”. With the Bhavishya programme, we strive to improve the health and wellbeing of women, children, and families affected by HIV, tuberculosis and poverty in Pune - the largest city in Maharashtra state after Mumbai. Using an integrated model of clinic- and community-based HIV care and economic empowerment, we support Keep a Child Alive to reduce the vulnerability of people living with HIV - one of the most serious public health problems in the country - and to increase their access to quality HIV-related health services.
The Bhavishya programme by Keep a Child Alive worked with three local partners (Sahara Aalhad Care Home, Saahasee and Prayas) to increase access to quality HIV-related health services, reduce the vulnerability of people living with HIV and their families and create a model of comprehensive, clinic- and community-based HIV care and economic empowerment.
The core belief of that model is that, to ensure life-long access to quality care for vulnerable people living with HIV and their families, it is necessary to ease their daily struggles of living in poverty and tackle the social isolation caused by HIV stigma.
In 3 years the following results were achieved:
- 953 individuals living with HIV received high quality residential care in the Sahara Aalhad Care Home (418 male, 404 female, 11 transgender and 120 children), including clinical services, physiotherapy and psychological, psychiatric, and nutritional assistance.
- 7,137 individuals living with HIV received high quality outpatient care and follow-up in particular in the Yerwada slums, including basic health consultations, screening testing, home visits, and food rations for the most vulnerable.
- 1,096 inpatients and outpatients received tailor-made nutrition counselling and support from a dietician to encourage healthy low-cost dietary habits and help patients to respond adequately to treatment.
- 1,634 inpatients and outpatients accessed mental health services either in the form of psychiatric treatment or clinical counselling.
- 7 peer support networks with approximately 276 active members were established for adolescents living with HIV.
- 57 federated self-help groups, with 539 female active members, were established in Pune. These groups pool their savings on a weekly basis. Members can then receive loans that are used to cover medical expenses, education costs, or to start a small business.
- Vocational and job skills training were organised for over 1,037 women and adolescents living with HIV as well as microenterprise start-up support for over 500.
- Linkages were created between vulnerable families in Pune (and in Yerwada) and Government schemes for accessing HIV testing, care and treatment and other social services. Over 4,000 patients received counselling.
- The programme team spearheaded a process of advocacy with the medical staff at Sassoon Hospital and helped make its service more accessible and relevant to patient’s needs. Among these changes they introduced a “single window system” which enables patients to access multiple services during a single visit, reduce their waiting time for hospital admission and streamlines enrolment for ART-eligible patients.
The generous support of the Cartier Charitable Foundation has nourished Bahavishya to blossom and grow, spreading hope and making a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable women, children and families in the greater Pune area.
Learn more about KCA programme supported by the Cartier Charitable Foundation in Yerwada, India