UNICEF Focuses on TREAT Asia Network Member
October 2010—The pediatric HIV program at Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand—a member of the TREAT Asia Pediatric Network—is featured in a new UNICEF report, Getting It Right: Case Studies on Paediatric Treatment, Care and Support in Thailand and Cambodia. The full report, excerpted below, can be downloaded here.
The pediatrics team from Prachanukroh Hospital
works closely with community hospitals around
Chiang Rai to deliver HIV treatment to local children.
In the mid-1990s, Chiangrai Prachanukroh began admitting a steady stream of children to its paediatric ward who were infected with HIV. As health care workers struggled to respond, they received some unexpected help in the form of a donation of antiretrovirals for children from AIDS ACCESS, a foundation dedicated to responding to the HIV epidemic in Thailand.
It wasn't long before [doctors at Prachanukroh] realized how invaluable PLHA and NGOs were when it came to treating and caring for children infected with HIV. The key was partnership.
In Thailand, as in most settings, only PLHA or NGO workers can assume the responsibility of making home visits and serving as the eyes and ears of the hospital staff in the patient's environment. "PLHA can go into people's lives in a way we doctors cannot," said Dr. Rawiwan Hansudewechakul, [head of pediatrics at Prachanukroh Hospital].
The model developed in Chiang Rai has proven to be a strong model for success. The evidence, first and foremost, is in the numbers: In nearly seven years Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital has treated 488 children who were living with HIV and the survival rate has been 90 per cent. The children who had no hope, now have more than hope—they have the odds in their favour that they will live at least until adulthood. The key was treatment adherence—achieved through the assistance and involvement of PLHA volunteers and AIDS ACCESS staff in providing care and support through home visits.