Paula Tovrow holds a Phd, Msc, MALD and is the Director of UCLA’s Bixby Program in Population and Repoductive Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Community Health Sciences Department at the UCLA Fielding SChool of Public Health in California USA. From 2009-2016, she served as Co-Director of the UC Global Health Institute’s center of Expertise in Women’s Health and Empowerment. In 1997-2001, Dr. Tavrow was the Deputy Reseach Director for the USAID- funded global Quality Assurance Project. She Oversaw eleven operation research. she has also worked as a contractor to USAID in Zaire (now DRC), Somalia, Tanzania and Malawi
PHAUSTINE ATIENO STORY
Phaustine is aged 21 years and lives in Musango village, Mumias East sub-county. At the age of 18, she was pregnant with her first child. Lilian Shisia, a CHV who operates in the CU that Phaustine belongs, upon finding her, Phaustine disclosed that she has never attended any ANC clinic since she didn’t see any need for that was her first child. Also, her friends had misinformed her that it was better she starts attending clinic when the pregnancy was about 7 months old so that she doesn’t visit the clinic many times before delivery.
Lilian then took her time with Phaustine educating her on the importance of ANC visits according to the training that Wadadia had given them. Phaustine then agreed to start attending the Ante-natal clinics. When Phaustine went to the facility, she was diagnosed with HIV which took her by surprise and even thought that she and her child were already dead.
When Lilian visited her to check on her she found Phaustine’s mother wailing and claiming that her child and grandchild were going to die. Lilian took her time again to motivate them since they knew that because the mother was positive, it was automatic that her child will also become positive eventually. Phaustine biggest worry was also that her husband will chase her away as soon as he gets wind of Phaustine’s status. Little did Phaustine know that her husband already knew his HIV status and was taking ARVs in secret
Lilian then approached Phaustine’s husband who disclosed that he takes ARV drugs secretly but when Phaustine came back from the clinic, he checked in the maternal book in order to confirm Phaustine’s HIV status. Lilian then brought them together where she counseled the two at length after which they resorted to taking drugs in the knowledge of the other.
The CHV kept on visiting them educating Phaustine on birth plan and also proper nutrition. On the day of delivery, she went to Shianda health center where she delivered successfully. After delivery, she breastfed her child exclusively for six months. The child is now two years old and HIV negative.
Phaustine is now very happy and now educates fellow women on the importance of regular ANC visits. She also thanks, Wadadia since if it were not for their intervention she would have suffered stigma for long
Lost hope restored
Peter tested positive the year 2015 at the age of 39 years old, he made up his mind to commit suicide and leave behind his two children and three-month pregnant wife, he was confused how he was going to disclose his new status to his family, especially his wife that he loved so much, he knew there was no life again when he thought on how those people who were living positively in his community were being discriminated.
Due to stigma, he moved away from his family without any notification, and went to visit his sister who stays in Nairobi he never disclosed his status to her either, unfortunately, while there he felt very sick and her sister rushed him to the nearest private hospital, he was diagnosed to have herpes zoster and was advised on the need to know his status too, he didn’t inform the officer in charge that he was positive instead he allowed him to test him again hopping that maybe things could have changed ,the results were positive, in the presence of his sister, he was advised to accept his new status and start taking drugs.
After one week he came back home, ready to face his family and disclose his new status, he decided to visit his nearest hospital Lung’anyiro model health Centre in Matungu sub-county for further counselling and also to request them to assist him disclose his status to his wife, there he met Maureen who is a HTC service provider and also a Chv volunteering with WADADIA implementing Global Fund programme, he was counselled and advised to bring his wife for testing too, the following day he brought his wife for testing, she was tested and the result turned to be positive, they were both taken through post-test counselling session and later they were enrolled at the Comprehensive care unit and his wife was advised to start ANC clinic, they were also encouraged to join one of the support groups at the facility. Maureen also enrolled them for HCBC services
Life changed since they joined the support group, they met more people who were living positively, looking very healthy, doing different projects and enjoying life like any other person, they were able to learn so many things through monthly health talks supported by global fund through Wadadia, Peter also learned that being positive did not mean that their unborn child will be positive too, they were advised on the need to have safer sex,drug adherence and the importance to disclose their status
Peter had a mission to campaign for zero HIV infections ,zero HIV reinfections and zero opportunistic infections and with this in mind he reached many people in the community advising them on the need to know their status, and through his support many people from his community were tested, he later joined them together and through the support of Maureen they formed a group,and they called it TUMAINI,and as the name goes they encourage each new member who join them to have hope in life again, the group was registered with the social services department in the year 2016
The formation of TUMAINI support group under the guidance of WADADIA, has led to reduction of stigma and discrimination amongst members and the community at large, this has encouraged more people who have come out to know their status without fear
He has attracted so many people on the board due to his great work, and has also received great recognition all over,his passion to reach people at house hold level has really touched many and occasionally he is being called upon to give motivational speech to different groups of people ie during chief barazas meetings. During one of the monthly support group meetings organized by WADADIA, The group was linked to Rural Education and Economic Enhancement programme (REEP), they were trained in horticulture as sustainability strategy, the group ventures into local vegetables, tomatoes and other crops .
Through these he has been able to sustain his family and also pay school fees for their son who is in form one, he has also moved from a grass thatched house to a semi-permanent house, he bought a moto bike which he uses to reach more people in the community.
Currently, peter is also volunteering as a peer educator at Lung’anyiro model health center, this has also resulted to higher number in the CCC especially for new tested clients ,he is also a member of the Community Health Committee(CHC) for Lung’anyiro Community Unit .He has been nicknamed ‘’Mwalimu wa ukimwi’’ and he feels proud as this basically identifies what he does, his passion to continue the fight against Stigma and Discrimination which if done away with he believes, people will leave together , work together and walk together.
Today as Peter holds his HIV negative baby girl, he appreciates the support he got from Maureen the CHV for her continued guidance through HCBC services , he thank Global fund through WADADIA for their support through support group meetings and ANC health talk sessions, and with a smile in his face, he says GOD BLESS YOU.