37-year-old Scovia is an HIV-positive mother of 4 children who makes a living selling vegetables along the streets of her neighbourhood in Kampala, Uganda. She learned her HIV status in 2012 while she was pregnant with her first child. “Before I came to Kampala, I was living in the village with my mother. I needed a lot of assistance since I was a first-time mother, and I was always sickly, and we assumed it was a normal illness. A friend of my mother came to visit, and she got concerned about my situation. We took her through what the situation seemed to be like. She requested my mother for me to come along with her to the city without saying anything concerning her suspicions that I might have contracted HIV and I was showing some signs." Scovia thinks back. Just like any first-time mother, Ruth was excited to come to the city and probably have her first child born in the city. Since AMS’ Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV (EMTCT) efforts demonstrate ending mother to child transmission of HIV and ending AIDS as a public health threat, Scovia who was 6 months pregnant was immediately registered for antenatal care and there she was tested for HIV. Her result was positive, the good news is that she was immediately enrolled in care for the safety of her unborn child. Scovia has been under Alive Medical Services care for 10 years now and she has had all 3 her children discharged from the EMTCT clinic HIV negative and is excited for this last one, as she tells. "I want to thank all the partners, donors, and everyone who is involved in our wellbeing. Thank you to Alive Medical Services and the entire staff, they treat us the same and all the health workers, it is like they were born and raised from one family." Scovia excitingly declares. Pregnant women like Scovia infected with HIV are at high risk of transmitting HIV to their infants during pregnancy, during birth, or through breastfeeding. However, the support from partners like GlobalGiving enables Alive Medical Services to eliminate new HIV infections among children in Uganda through the EMTCT program, and ending AIDS as a public threat cannot be accomplished by one single actor alone.
Charity, a foster parent from a Child Care Ministries looks after 8 orphaned and abandoned children of which one of the boys is HIV positive. The youngest by that time was a 3-month premature boy who had all the documents that identified him with all information regarding birth and health. The documents stated that the 3-month-old baby was diagnosed with HIV and he had already been enrolled in care at Alive Medical Services. Charity was not very familiar with matters concerning HIV as she was handed syrup and pellets to always give the child instructions at the right time and in the right dosage every day. She, however, had not cared for a person living with HIV before. “I don't want to say being a Christian made me strong to look after this child, I was scared at first because I was thinking suppose an accident happened and I got myself infected or any other child in my care, but when I came to AMS as a caretaker, I always ask questions that sometimes I think they don’t exist or make sense, but I am always answered and even given more information and this made me realize we are all the same. This child is no different” Charity shares with a glow. Charity does not forget to give her son medication. The boy is now 10 years old, and he has been under Charity’s care ever since and she treats him just like her own. He is copying up with adherence just as the health workers instruct her to help him adhere and he is always excited when we are coming to the facility for their appointment. Due to the unlimited services offered by AMS, Charity is grateful to the facility that the medication is always in plenty as well as the treatment of other opportunistic infections where it is all free of charge. Charity hopes that her son will grow up to become what he desires to be and that she will make sure HIV does not block his dreams. The boy is growing up well in good health and his future is beyond the moon. Charity is grateful to the doctors, and the entire team at Alive Medical Services for helping the people who look after HIV-positive patients go through this journey. There has been a simplification of perceptions on the view of HIV through the knowledge they give to the caretakers. When she tells her son it's Alive time, it is like there is a party the night before.
Mical, a 43-year-old HIV positive client of Alive Medical Services (AMS) is a live saver! She is doing her best to stop the spread of HIV by supporting fellow women and children. She lives in a village far away from AMS but ensures that she and the people she cares for adheres to their medication. She knows that ARVS saves lives but also that ARVS prevents the spread of HIV and ensures quality life.
One day, she heard that their neighbours, who were husband and wife had died.She got concerned and went to this household to see what was really happening. Mical found a sad and hopeless old woman with a starving little boy who looked severely malnourished.
Mical was filled with compassion for the little boy (who had just lost both parents) and his grandmother.
“With tears rolling down my face, I respectfully asked the boy’s grandmother for his custody and I promised her to take care of him just like he was my own. Lucky enough, the grandmother saw this as an opportunity. She accepted because I meant well for him”. Mical explains
“When I held this child in my arms, it felt like I was holding a corpse”Mical frowns her face.
Although Mical did not know much about Stanley except his name, she decided to bring him to Kampala for medical assistance and this has restored Stanley’s health.
“When I came back to my husband in Kampala in 2014, my husband saw this boy that I had carried all the way from the village, and was not happy. He humiliated me and said I had lost my mind, maybe I have become a witch and he shared with close people how his wife is running crazy.” Mical narrates.
Mical who was already in care at Alive Medical Services decided to bring Stanely to Alive Medical Services for assistance. When she came in with Stanley, an HIV test was immediately done because no one knew Stanley’s family background, not even Mical. His result was an HIV positive one. Stanley’s terrible condition kept Mical nervous.
“Almost every illness in the world was diagnosed with him and I was terrified he would die.” Mical gives a worried smile.
“I met with Counsellor Julian, and it’s like she let the light in our lives. Stanley got all the treatment he needed, I took all the advice from the counsellor on how to help this young boy live life and grow healthy. I have been with Stanley for 6 years now, those who said he was a corpse are now apologising to both of us, though he doesn’t completely understand how bad the situation was.”She twinkles a little.
“Stanley is currently in school; he is a bright boy, he dreams of becoming a pilot. Thank you, Alive Medical Services, you have helped me and Stanley a lot, the food program has always been a blessing. You have not only helped me and Stanley with medication but also psychological support because we both need it. I used to cry so much wondering what if anything happened to this poor child, where would I take him, how would I explain to my husband, but luckily nothing did. Although we come all the way from my village to the facility which is a long journey, I do not think I will ever transfer to any other clinic and I think there is no other that is equivalent to AMS. Since he is now in good health which proves that I am doing a good job, they support us by giving us 6 months refill. Alive is a good place and I am going to name Stanley another name, Alive. Thank you, Alive Medical Services.”
For 14 years now, Alive Medical Services has and will always continue the provision and access to comprehensive HIV care and treatment to women and children.
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