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Grassroots caregiver challenges Senate on AIDS, malaria

Lister Chingangu, founder of a home-based caregiver program in Zambia, visited Capitol Hill on World Malaria Day to show lawmakers how U.S. funding has enabled her ministry.

May 2008



Zambian caregiver Lister Chingangu stands in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Zambian caregiver Lister Chingangu stands in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Photo ©2008 World Vision staff
Walking the corridors of power on Capitol Hill and in the White House represented a big change of scene for Lister Chingangu.

Most days, the Zambian woman finds herself visiting the sick and vulnerable in their tiny one-room homes in the impoverished eastern neighborhoods of Zambia's capital, Lusaka.

The pastor's wife and mother to three children founded God our Help — a church outreach to orphans and those living with malaria and AIDS. God our Help eventually came under the umbrella of RAPIDS (Reaching HIV/AIDS Affected People with Integrated Development and Support), a World Vision-led consortium of organizations battling AIDS in Zambia.

U.S. support makes remarkable difference

Chingangu was invited to Washington, D.C., by World Vision to explain how U.S. government funding had dramatically improved assistance for those hurt by AIDS and malaria and urge policymakers to continue funding at a high level.

In 2003, Congress passed the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provided $15 billion over five years to combat the global pandemic. The funding expires later this year. In April, The House of Representatives approved a bill that would reauthorize PEPFAR funding to the tune of $50 billion over another five years. A Senate version of the bill is currently awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

During her visit, Chingangu met with senior aides of Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and staff of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

'A real blessing'

Chingangu told policymakers that God our Help was transformed when it came under the RAPIDS umberella, which is supported by PEPFAR funding.

Through RAPIDS, the organization's 65 volunteer caregivers received thorough training in the care of AIDS patients and orphans, Caregiver Kits, and bicycles to extend their reach.

In addition, they were able to secure clothes, shoes, mosquito nets, and school supplies to assist orphans and struggling families.

She says the Caregiver Kits — which contain basic medical and hygine supplies such as surgical gloves — have been a "real blessing."

The contribution of caregivers


Formerly, caregivers had been compelled to wrap their hands in plastic market bags to protect themselves from infection when treating patients' sores. World Vision organizes the assembly of the kits, which are put together by churches and community groups in the United States.

Chingangu says caregivers have a big role in helping AIDS sufferers follow complex anti-retroviral treatments. She says thanks to the drugs, many patients who were formerly on their death beds are now back at work; some have joined the ministry and become caregivers themselves.

RAPIDS currently supports and trains 15,000 caregivers in Zambia. Last year, the program assisted more than 220,000 orphaned and vulnerable children, arranged HIV- testing and counseling for more than 11,000, and provided home-based care to almost 50,000 HIV-positive people.


Learn more


>> Read about a partnership between Lister Chingangu, corporate health-care executives, and World Vision, through which U.S. lawmakers were lobbied to approve expanded funding for the fight against malaria and AIDS.
>> Learn more about World Vision's efforts to combat malaria, a disease that remains a leading cause of death for children under 5 in Africa.
>> Read about how AIDS and malaria combine to form a deadly duo.

Four ways you can help

>> Praise the Lord for Lister Chingangu, whose ministry brings hope to those suffering from malaria and AIDS in her Zambian community, and whose advocacy gives them a voice. Pray that U.S. lawmakers would swiftly reauthorize and expand resources to fight malaria and AIDS.
>> Take action now. Ask lawmakers to quickly reauthorize the Global AIDS, TB and Malaria Bill to ensure that children are not left behind in the fight against global malaria and AIDS.
>> Help provide tools to fight malaria. Your gift will multiply 3 times in impact to provide insecticide-treated bed nets, medical supplies, and more to children and families suffering from malaria.
>> Sponsor a HopeChild in a community affected by AIDS.

Forward to a friend


Learn more

Read about a partnership between Lister Chingangu, corporate health-care executives, and World Vision, through which U.S. lawmakers were lobbied to approve expanded funding for the fight against malaria and AIDS.
- -
Learn more about World Vision's efforts to combat malaria, a disease that remains a leading cause of death for children under 5 in Africa.
- -
Read about how AIDS and malaria combine to form a deadly duo.

Four ways you can help

Praise the Lord for Lister Chingangu, whose ministry brings hope to those suffering from malaria and AIDS in her Zambian community, and whose advocacy gives them a voice. Pray that U.S. lawmakers would swiftly reauthorize and expand resources to fight malaria and AIDS.
- -

Take action now. Ask lawmakers to quickly reauthorize the Global AIDS, TB and Malaria Bill to ensure that children are not left behind in the fight against global malaria and AIDS.
- -
Help provide tools to fight malaria. Your gift will multiply 3 times in impact to provide insecticide-treated bed nets, medical supplies, and more to children and families suffering from malaria.
- -
Sponsor a HopeChild in a community affected by AIDS.

 





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