Joyful HIV-positive Mother has Healthy Children with GWED-G’s Support
Emmanuella first crossed paths with GWED-G in 2012 when a local VHT worker, Julius, reached out to her about GWED-G’s HIV Prevention and Maternal Health program. At the time, she was pregnant with her first child and knew little about safe birth practices. She had recently tested positive for HIV and was fearful of the threat that her illness posed to her child. Through GWED-G’s program she was able to receive a mama kit- an all-in-one package that contains all the necessary items such as scalpels, soap, gloves, blankets, etc. needed to help provide a clean and safe delivery. In fact, in order to give birth in most hospitals or clinics in the villages, women are required to purchase all of the aforementioned supplies themselves. Without these supplies, most women are turned away. Since most women lack the means to procure said supplies, they end up not seeking medical care, which often leads to complications and even death for the mothers and babies. Fortunately, through the use of a mama kit, Emmanuella safely gave birth to her first child.
Following the birth of her first child, she kept in touch with GWED-G, making sure she was in attendance at integrated health service sessions- multi-purpose service delivery points offering a range of health services such as HIV/AIDS testing, malaria screening, antenatal appointments, general consultations, etc. Consequently, she gave birth to three more healthy children using the mama kits and all four of them tested negative for HIV.
While recounting her story, Emmanuella smiles tenderly and mentions that her younger daughter still spots the socks that were included in her mama kit. Emmanuella also stresses the importance of community sensitization sessions and the change that such a program has brought into her life. Not only was she able to come to terms with her HIV status, she also felt supported and empowered in her community knowing that there were people that deeply cared about her well-being. Weekly meetings led by VHT workers allowed her to connect with resources and informed her on the specifics of her illness. Emmanuella also remarked that she feels more in control of her situation and is able to make her own decisions regarding her health.
Additionally, Emmanuella has made significant strides towards reintegrating herself in society. As a beneficiary of GWED-G’s livelihood program, she received goats and seeds which she used to generate income for her family. She positively reflects upon her harvest from last season, indicating that the beans grew extremely well and is optimistic for this year’s yield.