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Youth caregivers: A valuable community resource to people living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zambia

Eka Esu-Williams, PhD1, Katie D. Schenk, MA, MSc1, Sr. Petronella Bweupe2, Joseph Motsepe1, Moses Zulu3, Amos Kasongo1, and Scott Geibel, MPH1. (1) Horizons/Population Council, P.O. Box 411744, Craighall 2024, Johannesburg, 2194, South Africa, 27-11-781-3922, ewilliams@pcjoburg.org.za, (2) Catholic Diocese Mansa, c/o Horizons Program/Population Council, 4301 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 280, Washington, DC 20008, (3) Mantumbusa Community Anti-AIDS Club, c/o Horizons Program/Population Council, 4301 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 280, Washington, DC 20008

Issues Many young people already care for family members living with HIV/AIDS but lack training and support so that they can be a more effective resource to their families and others in the community.

Description 300 youths aged 13-25 received training in providing HIV care and support to PLHA through home-based care. After receiving training, youth caregivers provided care to an average of 4 PLHA in the 3 months preceding the survey.

Lessons learned Youth were well suited to serve as caregivers because they were keen to volunteer, learn and implement new skills, and knew their communities well. Literate and knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, youth were easy to train, and accommodating in terms of their availability and the types of work they did. Training youth home-based caregivers and linking them with PLHA requires participation of many groups, including local health facilities and community leaders. Youth caregivers showed impressive results in networking and collaborating with other community care resources. The development of local partnerships was instrumental in addressing challenges experienced by youth caregivers, enhancing their credibility and providing support and motivation. Gender-sensitive training helped to address initial concerns about care-giving roles. Follow-up data indicate that male and female caregivers reported providing similar types of care and support.

Recommendations Programs that focus on PLHA, even in rural communities, should consider harnessing the potential of trained young people as a valuable resource in providing home-based care for PLHA.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Home Care, Youth at Work

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Improving Services for Immigrants, Refugees, Women, and Youth

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA