A ten year old girl has tested positive for HIV in Mtawa Village, at an outreach clinic supported by Temwa. To protect her identity we will not refer to her or her family by name.
It is thought by healthcare staff that the virus had been passed on by her parents who are both positive. The parents did not know their status during the mother’s first pregnancy, because she had not been to an antenatal clinic. As the young girl had been getting ill frequently, so on the advice of the clinic officer she was tested for HIV.
When the positive result was found, thankfully the girl immediately began antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment. ART works by combining different classes of antiretroviral medicines together for the most effective treatment of HIV and AIDS. This stops HIV multiplying and can make the virus undetectable in blood samples.
The family struggles to travel to Usisya Health Centre due to its long distance from their village. It is vital that they have access to healthcare, however, so that every HIV positive family member can properly access ART. Without this, the family are more likely to fall ill and cannot go fishing to provide food and income.
Why Temwa outreach clinics matter
Outreach clinics are vital for the families like this to access treatment. Mtawa village is 23 kilometeres from the nearest health centre, mobile outreach clinics provide a vital lifeline for healthcare provision to communities living in very remote villages. This includes general health services including antenatal care and screenings for conditions, such as cervical cancer and TB, and sexual health screening and treatment.
Pictured are other community members attending the clinic at Mtawa Village.
Without outreach clinics, supported by Temwa, it is likely her status would remain unknown with grave consequences for the girl. These clinics help ensure her siblings, who may also be HIV positive, can know their status and access lifesaving HIV treatment.
“We hope that Temwa will be able to continue conducting the clinics so other people like us can get assistance and get treated”, said the girl’s parents.
Helping Reduce HIV Transmission
Health Project Officer, Emmanuel Njiko said:
“The terrain of the area where Temwa works means a thousand people live far away from essential services and facilities like healthcare. This makes people miss out on some very important services due to long distances.
“For a pregnant woman it is very important to visit the health centre. Walking to and from the health centre, for say 46km, is too long for a heavily pregnant woman. Hence many expectant mothers just stop going. As the parents haven’t been visiting the health facility to test for diseases that can be transferred from mother to child, the end result is that the child may be more susceptible to other diseases, including HIV.
“Outreach clinics help mothers and their unborn babies by providing them with maternity services in hard-to-reach areas. Pregnant women, therefore, do not miss out on required tests and advice before giving birth. This is helping to reduce HIV transmission from mother to child.”