While some countries have made significant progress towards universal health coverage, half the world’s population still remains unable to obtain the health services they need.
Mr. and Mrs. Ba* is a young couple living in West Africa with very little money. In an attempt to change their financial situation, Mr. Ba traveled to the southeast and went digging in the goldmines. While he could not find any gold, he unknowingly returned home carrying the HIV virus and infected his wife. Over time, Mrs. Ba had two pregnancies and never received prenatal care because of the fees. As her children grew up, they were often sick, and Mr. and Mrs. Ba did not know why.
While Mrs. Ba was eight months pregnant with her third child, she became ill. She decided to go see a doctor, where she was referred to a nurse who operates a program supported by World Renew and Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund. The first thing that the nurse counseled her was to take a blood test for HIV, where Mrs. Ba’s results came back positive.
Since Mrs. Ba was already eight months pregnant, it was too late to take medication to prevent transmission to the child. Following the birth, the nurse asked her to bring the baby and the other two children for the blood test for HIV. All three tested positive, and Mrs. Ba broke down in tears and was inconsolable. She was certain all three of her children were going to die.
The nurse was able to assure Mrs. Ba that with medication and healthy habits, people can live a long life with HIV. The nurse explained a program which helps people living with the HIV virus and how it could be beneficial to them. The Ba family is now participating fully in the program.
Since the family does not live in a town where a doctor can prescribe medication, the program is eligible to pay the cost of the children’s transport to doctor appointments. While the government of their area does provide the medication for free, the program allows the Ba’s to get the medication without the cost of transportation.
Since joining the program, the Ba family’s situation has completely changed. Mrs. Ba takes her ARV medication every day and goes to activities for the group of HIV+ people that the World Renew supported nurse organizes.
Due to the program’s assistance, the two older children are no longer sick and attend a local school. The Ba children, who use to only leave their village to visit the doctor, were able to go on an organized education field trip where they met many other children who deal with the same problem as them.
Without accessibility to health care, the Ba family would not be where they are at today. It is likely all three of the children would continue to be sick. And without the HIV testing kit, Mr. and Mrs. Ba would still not understand why.
Stop the spread of the HIV virus and help families like the Ba's be able to get medication and counseling as they continue to live with HIV.
By giving a gift of health, you can provide HIV blood tests, results and counseling at a local church to communities in need.
*not their real name