Almost ten years ago, I met a brave, young woman named Rose. She told me her story about how her life had been upended by HIV, losing her child and home. Despite such tragedy she was determined to live. I had the opportunity to start working with Rose and a motivated group of people living with HIV toward a singular goal, to realize their right to lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment. This was how Hope Through Health started.
Today, I am in Kara, Togo with Jenny (HTH Executive Director) and our son Julien to visit friends and colleagues and to see the progress HTH has made toward that goal. Although I lived and worked in Kara for over three years as a Peace Corps volunteer and have visited annually for the last 7 seven years, this visit has been distinct. I am overwhelmed by the progress I see.
What does this progress look like?
Progress is seeing a filled clinic, staffed mainly by individuals living with HIV, providing care to over 1,600 patients annually including 152 children. Progress is seeing over 40 healthy babies that are HIV free because of an effective prevention of mother to child transmission program. Progress is seeing new partnerships formed to expand HTH’s model in order to provide care to thousands more women and children. Progress is seeing my dear friend, Rose, one of the first individuals started on ARV therapy in 2005, healthy, holding and hugging my son Julien.
We have come so far and this has happened because of your partnership. It has happened because thousands of supporters like you are unwilling to accept the status quo and believe, like Rose, that all individuals have a right to health care. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude for your support. So I will simply say thank you, on behalf of our colleagues and patients, for the progress I see today.
Kevin Fiori, Jr. MD, MPH
Co-founder & Associate Director, Hope Through Health
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