EGPAF Health Workers Overcome Barriers to Keep Patients on Treatment
Meet Maida José Machava, a 9 –year-old girl living in the southern Province of Gaza in Mozambique. Maida is one of the thousands of children living with HIV in Mozambique.
Her health depends on receiving her lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) from a local clinic supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). But her parent’s recent separation has had terrible consequences for Maida’s health.
After her parent’s divorce, Maida and her siblings went to live with her aunt and uncle who agreed to take her to her local health center to receive her ART. But soon the clinic visits became sporadic and eventually, Maida stopped appearing at her scheduled monthly ART check-ups. Staff at the clinic became concerned.
Health workers along with the support of the U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV’s), use a process called “defaulter tracing” to identify and track patients who have stopped receiving their HIV treatment. The health workers then visit the patients and offer them counseling and a means to return to their health centers.
EGPAF health workers found Maida at her aunt’s home, where she had been living since her parents separated. Her family told them that they had been unable to take Maida to the clinic because they had been traveling in South Africa.
When asked if she would like to start taking her medicine again, Maida´s response was a smile.
EGPAF supports medication counseling and HIV/AIDS treatment and retention programs throughout Mozambique. Thanks to ART and the diligence of EGPAF workers, Maida has a bright and hopeful future ahead of her. She has a chance to grow to adulthood and lead a healthy life.
To learn more about EGPAF’s work in Mozambique, click here.
Arsénio Basílio Manhice is a Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer for EGPAF, based in Mozambique.