Zambia (MNN) ― In Zambia, the national HIV prevalence rate is roughly 17 percent for adults. That translates to about one million Zambians living with HIV/AIDS and an orphan crisis of roughly the same percentage.
Nearly a fifth of children under age 18 are orphans who have lost their parents to the virus. Most of these are living in poverty and face severe malnutrition, or possibly starvation, especially in the youngest children.
Many are taken in by family members who can't afford to care for the babies, much less provide medication should the child get sick.
In response to the problem, Bethany Christian Services partnered with the Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ), working with children in crisis and those orphaned due to AIDS.
Together, they run the Milk and Medicine program whose goal is "to improve child health and strengthen families to prevent child abandonment and institutionalization." It's much needed, since it is clear that the government (or a single agency) does not have the resources to meet the intense needs of the desperate families.
It's a community-based, family-centered intervention designed to save children under the age of 2 by providing formula, prescription drugs, and social work support to families caring for vulnerable children. So far, it has kept 200 children alive, and it manifests the love and compassion of Christ through the staff.
Bethany's partnership and International Sponsorship support, which began in June 2008, enables CACZ to save the lives of more children in Zambia. It costs just $360 to provide milk, medicine and help for a child for a year...or $30 a month.