Russian Federation: new help for HIV-positive mothers in Cheliabinsk
The clinic department’s doctors and nurses began to work in the newly renovated medical section last summer (2004), striving to ensure that HIV-positive women and their children could receive quality medical treatment. The department can serve up to 30 children at a time. These professionals are challenged with the task of providing children, such as Lika and Valentina and their mothers, not only with needed medical, but also psychological care. Until recently, medical professionals have not been prepared to respond holistically to these women’s and children’s needs relating to their HIV/AIDS status and the consequences of this disease.
Ekaterina Abashkina and Elena Karaseva (shown in the photo) are nurses who joined clinic number 8’s department at the beginning of the summer 2004. Both participated in the UNICEF-supported training in December 2004, which greatly impacted their (and other participating professionals’) skills to work with HIV/AIDS patients. Ekaterina and Elena both noted: “We understand much more about the specific of our job. We are dealing not only with babies, but with their mothers who often feel hopeless after learning about their children’s diagnoses. It’s a shock to them. …However, the mothers can stay with their children in our department and we talk with them on a daily basis. We have to be not only nurses dealing with injections or other medical care, but to address psychological needs. Our patients need us to see them as a whole person and not just their medical issues.”
“Our nurses and doctors have shown much more tolerance and understanding after the training,”stated Irina Kostyan, the department’s head doctor. “They are not afraid of children with HIV anymore, and that’s very important. Some of these children will have to stay at our department for quite a long for all the testing and treatment. It’s our obligation to provide children in our department, and especially abandoned children, not only the required medical treatment but also the needed love and care.”
* All children's names have been changed to protect their identity