Community based care center for people living with HIV to promote compassion & love

The community-based care center by Lhak-Sam at Genekha, Thimphu comprises 20 members including eight adults and 12 children both living with HIV and those affected by HIV.

The center which was established last year in June on user right certified land on lease from the government serves as a core hub for the disadvantaged and underprivileged PLHIV members registered under Lhak-Sam and other key affected populations in terms of availing services, education support for the children and shelter for the homeless who are abandoned and neglected due to their HIV status and economic background.

“Lhak-Sam’s mandates and top priority has always been providing care and support to the people living with LGBTIQ, HIV and theirs affected family members so that they can maintain their independence and achieve together the best possible quality of life,” said the media and communications officer of Lhak-Sam, Lhendup Dorji.

He added that these members were rigorously shortlisted following the center’s guideline based on their physical health and economic background.

According to the Lhak-Sam’s executive director, Wangda Dorji, the center is for learning, feeling, practicing and promoting compassion, love and oneness of Humanity.

The community based care center offers a range of services to individuals and families infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. “We do provide home-based or community-based care services to ensure that the basic needs of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIVs) are met,” said Lhendup Dorji.

The services provided include care, counseling and support to people living with HIV & AIDS.

The center is providing food, nutritional support and education support for children living and affected by HIV by linking them to the central schools.

Establishing support groups and promoting information sharing, voluntary confidential counseling and testing (VCT) for HIV, providing palliative and end of life care, providing information to improve access to social, educational, housing, material and healthcare services, identifying and managing opportunistic infections, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other STIs, and psycho social counseling are services provided in center.

The center also provide effective anti-retroviral drugs and identify Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and referring them to health care centers for treatment and encouraging young people, women and men to become involved in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

To engage the people living at the center with flowers since the beauty and sweetness of flowers will help heal the disease, forget worry and problems related to HIV and AIDS, stigma and discrimination from their community, friends, relatives and parents, Lhak-Sam decided to implement commercial flower farming.

“We also planned commercial flower farming because we want to provide job opportunities to PLHIV and key affected population, so that from the products they sell, they can save some amount for productive use in the near future,” said Lhendup Dorji.

Although the organization has already excavated approximately one acre of land for commercial flower farming, due to lack or finance, the organization has not been able to start works as of now.

Pema Seldon from Thimphu