Tender loving care for all

KZN has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence in South Africa and a high incidence of TB infection partly due to this high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Destiny House is located in the Umkhanyakude District in northern KZN where HIV/AIDS and TB are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. This combined with a high level on unemployment (over 50%), poverty, poor sanitation, lack of clean drinking water, limited electricity supply, informal dwellings and functional illiteracy all contribute to a toxic cocktail that prevents many children reaching their full potential.

Abandonment, vulnerability or being an orphan often go hand in hand with HIV/AIDS, TB, malnourishment, neglect and physical and/or sexual abuse. The healthcare of the precious children accepted into DH is therefore often the first major challenge that must be faced.

DH staff work closely with the medical staff at the local clinic including a paediatrician and psychologist. While immunizations are free many children arrive not only in an extremely poor state of health but with incomplete immunization schedules. Malnutrition and the subsequent delays in developmental milestones are often evident. Failure to thrive and susceptibility to recurring infections are often clear signs that children need immediate medical intervention. In some instances this intervention necessitates the admission to hospital.

NO discrimination is made on the basis of HIV status. This means that some children admitted into Destiny House are in fact HIV positive. The medical treatment of these children sometimes necessitates them being placed on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). It is not an overstatement to say that the implementation of this treatment schedule has brought some children back from the brink of death. Improvement in their physical well-being is followed by a marked improvement in their emotional and social well-being. Personalities begin to shine, mischief is unleashed and life’s possibilities become boundless.