Ma Agnes: Cameroon
My name is Agnes, and I am a widow living with five grandchildren. I was diagnosed with HIV about 10 years ago. At that time, it was not that difficult for me to handle the news of my diagnosis at first, because my husband and our three children were near and supported me. However, my husband passed away a short while later; although my first two children were both married, his death increased my responsibility in taking care of my youngest child.
My life at that time was easier than it is now. My first daughter died of cancer, leaving behind three children I now care for. It was not long after her death that my second daughter and her husband were both involved in a deadly car accident that took their lives. Their two children, my grandchildren, became my sole responsibility. These unforeseen deaths and unexpected responsibilities have affected me both physically and financially – such that I very often am unable to afford the drugs necessary to keep me healthy.
I keep fighting on so I can provide for my grandchildren. My greatest challenges now are bringing up five little ones, sending them to school, providing their daily meals, and meeting their needs. They are the reason I desire to stay alive.
It is quite difficult for me now because I am aging and my health does not permit me to work on the farms as I used to. Still, I do not want to sit and fold my arms; I want to be busy so that I can provide for my grandchildren. I do not want them to be upset when I am no more. I want to thank the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and CBCHB Support Group for journeying with me through these difficult moments.
The Foundation partners with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) to improve the health of women, children, and families living with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. Together, our organizations are scaling up the quality of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services, and making significant contributions toward a shared goal of the elimination of pediatric AIDS in Cameroon.