The Battambang provincial Department of Health is inviting the public to provide support for over 200 HIV-positive children at the top referral hospital in the province who face growing difficulties in their daily lives due to the ongoing pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The announcement comes as funding for development partners slowed down amid an intensifying pandemic, forcing them to suspend a series of crucial social welfare projects some three months ago and cut down on related fundraising events.
Battambang health department deputy director Dr Sou Sanith said supply shortages – among other issues – were making life more difficult for the HIV-positive children receiving daily treatment at Battambang Provincial Referral Hospital, affecting their studies.
“The provincial health department has agreed to initiate a charity programme to mobilise funds to buy milled rice, clothing, study materials and other helpful things within our budget. The donations will provide assistance to 211 HIV-positive children who are having a tough time right now in Battambang,” he said.
Lim Kim Seng, a programme officer at the NGO FHI360 Cambodia, told The Post on March 31 that after seeking budgetary aid in mid-March his working group had received roughly $6,000 from donors at home and abroad so far.
He added that further donations were still welcomed and needed and would continue to be necessary to fund the various assistance projects for these HIV-positive children that are managed by civil society organisations.
In short, Kim Seng said, if you are willing and able to provide any humanitarian assistance to these children, now would be the time to do it.
“Families of HIV-positive children already have trouble getting by and when the era of Covid-19 began many of the parents lost their livelihoods because they can’t risk infecting their [immunocompromised] children.
“With no income, parents aren’t even able to feed their children and basic nutrition even becomes a problem,” he said.
Kim Seng added that the donations had been used to help these children and provide them with regular treatment they need.
“During this uncertain period, we are calling for help from anyone who can assist us with donations in any amount they can afford until our various partner organisations have funding again to continue their projects helping these children.
“We have children from the ages of 1 to 15 in need of assistance who have to come and receive treatment regularly,” he said.
The PEPFAR/USAID funded EpiC/FHI360 Project Cambodia provides technical assistance to the Battambang provincial health department’s HIV/AIDS programme and to six referral hospital across the province on HIV prevention, care and treatment activities.
There are over 5,000 HIV-positive people of all ages living healthy and productive lives in Battambang thanks to the province’s comprehensive health services for people living with HIV.