It is sad to see that the children who have to rely on someone/adult to help them take their drugs are registering higher numbers of drug resistance as compared to those who can take the drugs on their own. It would be interesting to learn what reasons the caregivers (in this case the default drug companion) give for this (if any). It would also be interesting to find out whether these numbers are higher amongst caregivers who are not on treatment themselves or amongst those who are on treatment.
In some of the cases I have documented in my work, the children are made part of the treatment plan. That means if they can walk and talk, then they are taught how to find and take their drugs (definitely under supervision), pick out a marker/reminder of when they take them, say when the 7 o'clock news comes on and as they grow older, after they have been disclosed to, they are told that death can happen if they don't take their drugs. On going counseling is done for the baby/mother pair. In cases where the adult is also on treatment, they have the same or related plan with the child. For cases where the adult/medicine companion is not on treatment, then they have to undergo intensive adherence counseling which might include several home visits to assess the situation at home, check levels of stigma and several other things.
Many times the best solution comes from those who are in the same situation. Peer to peer support is encouraged for parents/caregivers who are facing similar challenges.
HIFA Profile: Sylvia Matovu is a Librarian in Uganda
Email: sylviamatovu AT yahoo.co.uk