In 1999, HIV was declared a national disaster in Kenya. This was due to the countless number of reported HIV deaths that Kenya as a country was experiencing. There was very minimal information regarding this disease and when one tested positive, a majority saw it as a death sentence- Some even committed suicide!
18 years down the line since this declaration was made, a positive outcome in a HIV test is no longer a death sentence to most Kenyans. Comprehensive Care Centers –(CCC) are found in most hospitals and luckily, advanced medicine has made it possible for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission.
Last week, Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital in collaboration with Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) held a special event in celebration of the discharge of 50 children, who have turned HIV negative after 18 months of care despite being born to HIV positive mothers.
Anne narrated to the rest of the mothers:-“It was the year 2004. I had just gotten married. It was a great joy when I found out I was pregnant soon after getting married. However, when I went for my first pre-natal visit the nurse tested me and found out I was HIV positive. I did not believe this and I went home in denial-I did not take ARV drugs as advised by the nurse. Soon after I delivered, my baby died. I conceived a second time and unfortunately, this baby died after few months too. This was when reality hit me hard-My HIV status was the reason behind all this. I told my husband about it and we decided to go for a HIV test together. He tested negative! Luckily, he supported me and through counseling sessions, I accepted the fact that I was positive and that despite this, I could live happily. I am now a mother to healthy babies, my last borns been twin boys! I look healthy and I know that I will live to see my grandchildren. Any mother living with HIV should ensure they too, protect their unborn from contracting HIV.”
For Mary Ngima, the in charge of Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital CCC department, it was an immense joy to see these babies live a healthy life. “This is the greatest day in my entire career as I can see people with bright smiles on their faces as a result of the great work my department does.” She said.