Fighting COVID-19 and HIV: a daunting task

Fighting COVID-19 and HIV: a daunting task

In April 2020, it was clear that COVID-19 and preventive measures taken in countries to address the pandemic would have a great impact on the lives of people living with HIV and the continuation of HIV prevention and treatment services. Fighting two pandemics at once is a daunting task. That is why Aidsfonds launched its COVID-19 emergency response fund. Through 13 emergency grants for paediatric HIV partners in 5 countries, these partners succeeded in continued support to more than 2700 children living with HIV and their families, to over 1000 pregnant and lactating mothers, and managed to keep them in life-saving care. 

Paediatric HIV activities carried out under the COVID fund

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund gave existing Aidsfonds grantees and partners the opportunity to apply for rapid and short-term additional funding for activities that mitigated the impact of COVID-19 on people living with or vulnerable to HIV. 8 paediatric HIV partners from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe applied and their activities included:

  • providing home deliveries of ARVs or facilitating transport to health facilities, 
  • providing accurate information on COVID-19 and prevention measures for PLHIV,
  • distribution of emergency food items to support treatment adherence,
  • household visit and phone calls by community health workers and expert clients to follow up on children living with HIV and their families,
  • providing training and personal protective equipment such as face masks and sanitizers to community health workers. 

Emergency grants were awarded up to 10,000 euro and implementation timelines varied from 2 to 6 months.  Next to this we worked with our partners to address the crisis in our current programmes by adjusting activities, planning and budgets to the changed realities and priorities on the ground.

Communities at the forefront

Communities have been at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Community based and community led organisations were the first to hear about challenges for people living with HIV as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns that followed in many countries. Community organisations,  not only know best how to address these changed needs in their communities, they are also often the only one being able to reach and communicate in a critical situation where movement is restricted.

Scholastic and her grandchild Scholastic and her grandchild

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