Teaching Pediatric Pain Management in Zambia: Visiting Tiny Tim & Friends

Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf, director of Pain and Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine at Children’s, is on a two-week trip overseas to train caregivers about pediatric pain management.

This week, he’s in Zambia, Africa, for the  1st Annual Pediatric Palliative Care Symposium. He will teach more than 150 professionals at an event sponsored by the CDC/Atlanta and the US President’s Emergency AIDS Fund. Next week, he’ll be in Cyprus for “Advanced Pain Medicine & Palliative Care for Children: Workshop for Professionals in Pediatric Hematology / Oncology,” where he’ll teach the Middle East Cancer Consortium about pediatric pain management, teaching Israelis and Arabs in the same room, united by a desire to help children in pain.

Tuesday, Nov. 22
I visited the farm of “Tiny Tim & Friends” here in Lusaka, Zambia.

Background: It was Tiny Tim’s story that inspired friends and family around the globe to get involved.  As a result, Tiny Tim & Friends was created.  To date, Tiny Tim & Friends has helped hundreds of HIV infected orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia receive essential medical care and educational support.

In 2003, a woman with AIDS, seven months pregnant and living in a bus terminal in Lusaka, Zambia, was found by the good sisters of Kasisi Children’s Home.  After delivering the baby, Tim Meade, MD, from Minneapolis, and a team of volunteers took turns bringing warm formula to the child.  Unable to care for her newborn son, the mother asked “Dr. Tim” to take care of the baby.  As a sign of gratitude, she named the baby Tim.

On the farm there are currently 13 boys — most of them orphans, which are referred by hospice. They are often started on 2nd line antiretrovirals (twice daily, if younger than 12 years, once daily if older) under supervision of social worker or Dr. Meade to improve compliance, and to get them fed and back to school. Usually after 2-3 months, they are placed back into their families (usually grandmothers or aunts, who carry the brunt of the AIDS catastrophe here).

The “app” Balloonnimals on my iPhone clearly was a big hit among the kids.

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