December 1st is World AIDS Day. This year the UNAIDS campaign focusses on #myrighttohealth which explores the challenges people around the world face in exercising their right to health. This includes the right of everyone, including people living with and affected by HIV, to the prevention and treatment of ill health, to make decisions about one’s own health and to be treated with respect and dignity and without discrimination.
In 2016 36.7 million people globally were living with HIV and 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses. In 2017 20.9 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (source: www.unaids.org).
Misean Cara works to uphold the right to better health, clean water and sanitation
Misean Cara works with 91 members across 50 countries to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities. One of the five key areas we work in is health, including treatment for those living with HIV and AIDS. On World AIDS Day we would like to share some of the valuable work one of our members has been doing to help tackle HIV and AIDS.
The DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) project in Nairobi, Kenya is run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and supported by Misean Cara. DREAM provides HIV care and treatment to persons living with HIV and AIDS.
Special report by Emily Kiptui, DREAM Programme Manager, DREAM Centre
Living life can be a very challenging experience for many people living with HIV if it is not well managed. It comes with a myriad of problems besides psychosocial issues, people living with HIV require lifelong care, medication and treatment. Adherence to the treatment regime is a must to achieve good health outcomes and wellness, otherwise, opportunistic infections set in.
The DREAM programme in Nairobi is currently providing quality health care services to over 2,500 patients. Most of the DREAM clients come from poor socio-economic backgrounds lacking basic needs including food and shelter. People living with HIV enrolled in our facilities rely on casual labour and small businesses which barely cater for their household needs.
For many patients accessing HIV services can be difficult as they cannot afford the bus fare. In order to increase access to care and to improve health outcomes, DREAM provides transport for the extremely needy patients who would otherwise not access care. This has enabled us to achieve good health outcomes, low morbidity and low mortality among our patients. Patients are happy to come for services at DREAM owing to the quality comprehensive care and qualified, friendly staff. They are grateful that we can meet their needs and treat them with dignity.
Emily Kiptui, DREAM Programme Manager, DREAM Centre
Ann (not her real name) is an elderly woman living with HIV enrolled in the DREAM clinic. Due to complications arising from the treatment for multidrug resistance tuberculosis, Ann lost her hearing ability as well as her mobility. Fortunately, Ann can communicate through writing hence, she can ask questions and respond to any concerns about her health and health care providers at DREAM.
Both of Ann’s legs are paralysed and she cannot walk on her own. This means she must be accompanied by a neighbor or a relative to the clinic or picked up by our driver or taxi. In some cases DREAM staff have to drop the much-needed ARVs and a food basket at Ann’s home. A Doctor’s review is often required and some blood tests needed, therefore Ann has to try find her own means of transport to the clinic.
Ann has been able to consistently attend her clinic appointments. Event with her illness Ann is hardworking and determined to support herself by preparing liquid soap and jig for sale as a source of income to sustain herself even with her condition.
Photo caption: The DREAM project in Nairobi, Kenya run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. February 2017. Photo: Tara Finglas.