ART adherence interventions in Children affected by HIV should be child-centered and appropriate. We at Thrissur Medical College initiated a new initiative aimed at making ART Centre visit a pleasure than a pressure for our children. We believe drawing and painting can lead to colourful thoughts and hopes and improve creativity in them. Finding one more reason other than routine clinic visit can motivate the caregivers and beneficiaries to make clinic more comfortable and this can improve the beneficiaries’ compliance and adherence in treatment.
The idea was conceived by Dr. Vineeth Kumar (Medical Officer) who is an artist on his own and Ms. Preethakumary (Counsellor) in the month of February 2010 and materialised on 12th March 2010. In this simple intervention, we distribute crayons and pictures for colouring to the children who attend ART centres. They are expected to bring back the pictures in the next visit when they come to collect ART. The painting brought by them will be displayed in the notice board on the same day when these kids are waiting in the waiting area. Some parents offered to buy cryons on their own as they can afford to buy it. We also encourage them to buy water or oil colour if they can afford it. In order to make sure maximum participation, each of the ART team members acted as a catalyst. Every child who bring back the painting will get a small prize like sweets or pen. The best 3 painting of every month will be given a prize in a small meeting conducted in the ART centre itself .We made sure that these prizes are selected in such a way that they are useful items like pen, books, Tiffin box etc and it will not look anything exotic to invite questions from peers or friends. In the month of March, 80 children participated, and in April, 59 children participated. In order to improve imagination and creativity, now we ask the kids to do their drawings and paintings based on a theme provided by us and the response is much beyond our expectations. Currently the whole project is sponsored by the ART staff and our Department of Paediatrics. We are looking forward to expand this small venture. We plan to conduct an exhibition of 6 months collection of paintings on next children’s day.
We hope this intervention will make ART visit more pleasurable to our children and their parents .
Dr. Ajithkumar K.,
Government Medical College,