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2008.06.05

* Providing treatment for Lesotho children living with HIV
* 02 min 22 secs
* 18 October

In Lesotho, seven year old Kananelo arrives with his grandfather at the UNICEF-supported Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. More than a year ago, Kananelo was diagnosed HIV-positive.

His parents are dead so his grandfather brings him in for regular checkups. Lesotho is a poor country and has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS. The hospital provides sophisticated HIV treatment for children, mothers and infants.

SOT Dr. Kathy Ferrer, Associate Director, Baylor College of Medicine (English)
“We treat everybody who walks through the door, so no one requires any referral whatsoever. You can walk right off the street and come in. We don’t charge for any of our services.”

In Lesotho nearly 25 per cent of adults are infected. Of the babies born HIV positive every year, half die before their second birthday.

UNICEF and its partners are reversing that trend. Because of their support, Kananelo, and many more children like him, can look forward to good health.

SOT Dr. Lineo Thahane, Baylor College of Medicine (English)
“He doesn’t look any different from any other child. His weight and heighy and growth and development, everything is normal. So as long as he keeps taking his medicines appropriately, he’s got a great future ahead of him.”

But Kananelo has not only been given a future. He has also become a child-sized ambassador in a country that desperately needs to hear the message that AIDS is not a death sentence.

SOT Dr Kathy Ferrer Associate Director, Baylor College of Medicine (English)
“The biggest impact is when you see that one child who gets better and even just having one child get better that is an incredible message to that caretaker who then takes it back to her community and it’s been a snowball effect.”

UNICEF is committed to making sure that the beneficial effects of Baylor Hospital spread throughout Lesotho’s health system – extending its services to rural areas, training more health care workers and building children’s HIV care into community health.



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