Reach a Child Initiative Zambia (RACIZ) is a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged children affected by Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), Malaria and Malnutrition. It started this noble work in April 2020 and got fully registered in February, 2021, certificate number:
RNGO101/1446/2021 and TPIN number 2013486429. RACIZ is currently supporting over 50 children with sickle cell disease (SCD) consistently. Our ultimate goal is to support as many children as possible both in Lusaka and other provinces. Currently, our focus has been Lusaka
but we hope to expand to other provinces in Zambia and especially in rural districts where the most vulnerable children are found.
It is worth mentioning that all this support to the children has only been successful through the support of our well-wishers for whom we are entirely grateful. Through Our Malaria project which help children by giving antimalarial drug coartem and we were able to help more than 500 children in Chongwe district in the year 2020 and 1500 this year.
Our focus currently is the Sickle Cell project dubbed the hydroxyurea project where we hope to provide free treatment to as many children living with sickle cell anemia as possible with hydroxyurea a drug used to treat SCD. SCD is the number one cause of admission at the children’s hospital and the 4th cause of death according the guidelines. SCD is a public health concern which needs an urgent attention from both private and public stakeholders because of the high cost of treatment for an average Zambian with this condition.
• Provide Nursing care, Medical care, Physiotherapy and other medical services where necessary for Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patients (Children)
• Provide Nutritional treatment support for the malnourished children
• To help in the acquisition of necessary medical equipment for diagnosis and management of SCD.
• Provide online support group and interactive web community for SCD patients.
• Coordinate and supplement government efforts in the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD), Malaria and Nutritional awareness programs in Zambia that emphasizes early detection and management of these conditions.
Our main mission is to ensure Children develop healthy milestones through our treatment projects so that they may have the opportunity for a positive and better futur
Our long-term plan is to ensure that children with SCD receive good medical care so that they may have good, long life and strong healthy bodies that they may accomplish great things for betterment of our nation.
Our vision is to provide treatment support to vulnerable children and transform their lives to enable them fulfill their potential and dreams.
SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a major genetic disease in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mean it is passed on from both parents to their children. It is a disorder that affects the haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the substance that is responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. The main symptoms of SCD include severe anemia and severe acute pain called vaso-occlusion crisis (VOC). This pain is caused when the cells change their shape to sickle shaped cells in low oxygen environment of the body. The sickle shaped red blood cells then stick together, causing blockages in the small blood vessels. Children with SCD experience various complications such as acute chest syndrome (ACS), stroke, bone damage etc
The drug of choice in Zambia for treatment of SCD is hydroxyurea to prevent or reduce painful crises mentioned above.
The SCD trait is estimated at 18% of the Zambian population. The University Teaching Hospitals, Lusaka, with the largest population of SCD patients, has on its records over 6, 000 patients currently registered with them. The majority of these are children below the age of fifteen years. SCD patients accounted for 12% of the total all-cause admissions at the UTH- Children’s Hospital in 2019 and yet SCD was 4th on the top five causes of mortality
among children admitted to UTH- Children’s Hospital in 2019 and top 10 among the causes of seeking outpatient care.
Benefits of Hydroxyurea
Hydroxyurea (HU) is an ideal therapeutic agent for children who are living with sickle cell disease. Research has shown numerous health benefits and outcomes with starting treatment in children at an early age:
➢ Hydroxyurea has shown to significantly decrease the number of vaso-occlusive episodes (pain episodes) and episodes of acute chest syndrome
➢ Reduce the number of transfusions and hospitalizations
➢ Studies have also shown it provide some protection against overt stroke as well as other end organ damage.
➢ HU lowers overall mortality rate in infants (≥ 9 months of age), children, and adolescents with SCD
➢ Recent studies have encouraged to offer treatment with hydroxyurea regardless of clinical severity to reduce SCD-related complications
➢ HU increases the quality of life among children living with SCD
Your donation will help RACIZ to offer this important treatment to vulnerable children in Zambia living with SCD for free
• Children on our hydroxyurea project have shown great improvements by:
• Improved quality of life.
• Reduced number of hospitalizations.
• Those who were very sick have shown to have good prognosis and their recovery is quicken.
• Reduces the frequencies of major crisis
• They tend to also attend school frequently.
• All the children we have treated on our malaria program have recovered.
One of our major challenge has been inadequate funding to buy hydroxyurea for children living with SCD, antimalarial drugs and nutritional supplements to impact a lot of children. This has restricted us to quiet a small number of patients that we can support consistently in 2 districts of Lusaka Province; these being Lusaka district and Chongwe district.
Additionally, Transport for the outreach programs is a challenge for those patients who stay very far and can’t afford to come to the hospital and collect their monthly supply. Following them is a challenge due to Lack of adequate transport because all the members are volunteers.
As an organization, our main source of income is by engaging the public to either donate or partnership through sponsorships. These donations have made it possible for RACIZ to change children’s lives. Our organization always appreciates the generosity and involvement of people willing to partner with us.
However, in order to expand and reach out to as many vulnerable children living with sickle cell disease, malaria and malnutrition as possible, we continue to call for assistance either in monetary, human resource or material form from;
• Individual well wishers
• The government
• Corporate bodies and companies
• International Organizations
• Non-Governmental Organizations
Through your donations, RACIZ will be able to expand to other parts of the country and touch the lives of many children, especially those living with sickle cell anemia, who require daily doses of hydroxyurea that the majority of Zambians cannot afford to purchase from their income.
Your donations will go a long way and ensure that RACIZ is able to;
• Purchase a capsule of hydroxyurea for SCD patients
• Purchase a pill of coartem for a child with malaria
• Afford to feed a child with malnutrition.
SCD is the leading cause of admission at the children’s hospital up to date as shown in the graphs of 1st and 3rd quarters of 2019RACIZ registered in February this year RACIZ has so far supported 50 children with SCD consistently from April 2020 to date with a view to support 100 children this year in Lusaka. Your donation will make a difference.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
To ensure transparency and accountability, RACIZ embarks on regular audits and has a professional accounting system that shows accountability of how every resource has been allocated and used.