PMTCT turns around a widow’s life

Diana Charles was born 31 years ago and grew up in Msalala District, Shinyanga Region. Because Diana did not do very well in secondary school, and thus could not continue with higher education, she decided to help her mother sell vegetables at the local market.

She met a trader at the market, and the two soon married when Diana was 24 years old. They lived happily for three years before her husband’s health started to deteriorate and he was frequently ill.

“I was worried and went to the local dispensary where I was tested and found to be HIV-positive. I was devastated,” Diana says.

“I revealed the result to my husband, who was not surprised, saying he was aware of his HIV-positive status”. The two were enrolled for care and treatment at Segese Dispensary.

“When my husband’s health improved, he continued doing business in other towns. He was away for weeks on end. Without my knowledge, he stopped taking his medication and became very ill. He later became partially paralyzed and died, and I became a widow,” says Diana.

She adds that she took heart from an aunt and uncle who are living with HIV and are on medication.  “I accepted my status without reservation after seeing my aunt and uncle living positively with HIV.”

Diana also received counseling with regard to the side effects of ARVs in the early stages of ART. “Indeed, there were days when I felt nauseous and tired, had swollen legs and urinated frequently. I’m grateful that my family supported me.” Diana was on seprine for one year before she started taking 1C.

In 2013, she relocated from Segese to Shinyanga Municipality. She also made sure that her CTC details were transferred from Segese Dispensary to Kambarage Health Center in Shinyanga.

“I got a job at a restaurant as a waitress. After sometime I got a boyfriend and later became pregnant. I attended antenatal clinic at Kambarage Health Center when I was two months pregnant. My medication was changed from 1C to 1G, and was told that it was meant to prevent HIV infection from myself to my child.”

Diana had a normal delivery and her baby was given medication in the form of syrup that was taken for seven days. She was also taught the proper way to breastfeed her baby.

She took her child to the health facility for Dried Blood Sample (DBS) testing after one month, one year and one year and three months. She continued breastfeeding for one year and five months.

Diana’s son, Abednego, is currently three years old. “I’m thankful that I have been able to give birth to a healthy baby despite my status and the fact that I have no one else to depend on in taking care of my son. I’m taking it all in my stride.  I’m looking forward to opening my own business in the near future.”

She had also joined a support group for pregnant and breastfeeding women at the dispensary. Members meet weekly to support and advise one another, talk about health issues and ensure that every member adheres to medication.

It is also a microfinance group in which members save and borrow from. The group is profitable and has enabled members to pay for their children’s health insurance and buy land.

 I am really thankful for the support and my baby is HIV-negative, I received all the relevant knowledge and guidance with regard to pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care. I urge pregnant mothers living with HIV to adhere to medication and heed healthcare providers’ advice after childbirth says Diana.

Diana Charles is one of 13,927 women who received Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) services in Shinyanga, Mara, Simiyu and Mwanza with the support of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and by Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

 

ENDS…..

What We Do

  • Provision of Comprehensive HIV Care +

    The purpose of** Boresha Project** is to support comprehensive facility-based HIV testing, care, treatment and support service provision in 9 scale-up and 25 sustained districts in the five lake zone regions of Geita, Mara, Mwanza, Simiyu and Shinyanga. .

  • TB in the Mining Sector Programme +

    TB in mining sector (TIMS) project is funded by Global fund through Development Aid from People to People (ADPP - Mozambique). AGPAHI is a sub-recipient of ADPP Mozambique.The project target is to screen TB to approximately 30,000 mine workers and their families.

  • CIFF Reprogramming +

    Project Goal is to improve health services to prevent HIV transmission, increase identification of adolescents with HIV infection, and improve HIV care and treatment and retention for ALHIV in Tanzania.

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