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At just 13 years of age, Samir Rana Magar has experienced his share of hardship and heartbreak. His parents died when he was very young. He has four older brothers, but they were not in contact. So his aunt (his father’s sister) and uncle took him into their home and cared for him.

When he was in Grade 4, he became very sick. He aunt took him to a large local hospital where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the brain. This was serious enough, but a routine blood test showed that he was HIV positive. In spite of this, his aunt loved him and cared for him.

Sadly, his aunt also passed away. His uncle was not interested in caring for him as his aunt had. Samir became ill again, and this time there was no-one to look after him, or even take him to hospital. One of the staff of Prayas Mahila Samuha, a local women’s organisation, heard of his condition, and arranged for him to go to hospital. She consulted with UMN’s partner NJSS about what could be done for him.

Meanwhile, Samir was alone at the hospital, with no-one to provide him with care and support. Some of the doctors and nurses were moved by his situation, and gave him food and fruit from their own resources. But still he was alone and frightened, crying and in pain.

An NJSS care-giver saw his situation, and the team discussed how they could support him. They helped him in hospital, and when his condition improved and he was allowed to return home, they provided home-based care, ensuring that he had good food and sufficient clothes. They also arranged for him to be given ARV treatment.

The care provided by NJSS helped change his family situation too, as well as his health. His uncle now accepts him, and he is not discriminated against. He plays with his cousins happily, and goes to school, where he is in Grade 7. Family members love him and care for him.

Samir is happy, and thankful that NJSS saw his situation and provided support. He knows that he is no longer alone.

*B P Koirola Institute of Health Sciences,

**In Nepal, family members or friends usually provide routine care, and even food, for patients in hospitals. A patient without someone to do this for them is in a difficult situation indeed.