Zambia (MNN) — In Zambia, the national HIV prevalence rate
is roughly 17 percent for adults. That
translates to about one million Zambians living with HIV/AIDS and an orphan
crisis of roughly the same percentage.
Nearly a fifth of children under age 18 are orphans who have
lost their parents to the virus. Most of
these are living in poverty and face severe malnutrition, or possibly
starvation, especially in the youngest children.
Many are taken in by family members who can't afford to care
for the babies, much less provide medication should the child get sick.
In response to the problem, Bethany Christian Services
partnered with the Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ), working
with children in crisis and those orphaned due to AIDS.
Together, they run the Milk and Medicine program whose goal
is "to improve child health and strengthen families to prevent child
abandonment and institutionalization." It's much needed, since it is clear that the government (or a single
agency) does not have the resources to meet the intense needs of the desperate
It's a community-based, family-centered intervention
designed to save children under the age of 2 by providing formula, prescription
drugs, and social work support to families caring for vulnerable children. So far, it has kept 200 children alive, and it manifests the love and compassion of Christ through the staff.
Bethany's partnership and International Sponsorship support,
which began in June 2008, enables CACZ to save the lives of more children in
Zambia. It costs just $360 to provide
milk, medicine and help for a child for a year…or $30 a month.