CARE FOR HIV/AIDS CHILDREN AND ORPHANS
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic, my Purpose and Social Justice: At the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, I was awakened to the devastation in Africa and my native Nigeria after listening in 2001 to a young South African boy who was on the verge of death from HIV/AIDS. His name was Nkosi Johnson. He was pleading to the world on CNN not to discriminate against children suffering from HIV/AIDS; that it was not their fault. He was 12-years-old, very articulate but very ill. Sadly, he died within a year of the broadcast. About six years earlier, I had worked on anti-retroviral drugs in my lab to improve the delivery of the drugs in HIV/AIDS patients, but I met some roadblocks and backed off. However in 2001, I was tired of sitting on the sideline. I knew then that I was being called to do the right thing.
Care for Orphans and Developing Pediatric HIV/AIDS Drugs – True Calling: I heeded the call and changed to some extent my life’s course, both personal and academic. I refocused my caring for children with HIV/AIDS to the surviving parent or grandparent. I knew I had to make a trip to Africa, specifically Nigeria. In 2003, I did and soon found the learning curve to be steep as care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients were evolving on a monthly basis in terms of understanding the logistics needed to accomplish the goal. My learning was boosted by a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar Award I received in 2004-05 for African Area AIDS Research that took me to Nigeria.
I began by establishing a non-profit organization, Drugs for AIDS and HIV/Patients (DAHP) (www.dahp.net), bringing medicines for opportunistic infections caused by HIV/AIDS to Nigeria. Through donations of church members and friends, the organization started by supplementing living allowances to a handful of women with HIV/AIDS and providing clothing, food and some school items to children. In 2008, I opened Sarah’s Orphan Home in Ogbomoso, Oyo, Nigeria after two of the children to whom we provided essential foods died from non-HIV/AIDS childhood illnesses without DAHP’s prior knowledge of the illness.
Based on the need for extended family homes for orphans, a new Home was opened in November 2011 at Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. The Home is for orphans from all causes. Those in the new Home in Osogbo have no records associated with HIV/AIDS.
See pictures about the Orphan Homes at: https://picasaweb.google.com/cmadeyeye/SarahOrphanHomeOgbomoso?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJmezqnugeDawAE&feat=directlink