In the fight against AIDS, HIV prevention is universally heralded as a critical battle. However, in a society where a quarter of citizens are already HIV-positive, prevention cannot be the only battle.
The government, aided greatly by foreign donors, has made vast strides making Antiretroviral (ARV) medications accessible to almost anyone who needs them, even in some of the most remote mountain villages of Lesotho. However, access to medication does not solve all of the problems associated with HIV.
Each type of ARV must be taken at certain times of the day and comes with a host of unpleasant side effects. If a patient has not eaten enough food for the day, they are at risk of even more severe side effects. Additionally, HIV still carries with it a significant social stigma.
So what happens, then, if a patient is living in a home without electricity, as many people in Malealea are, and does not have access to a clock to monitor the time? What if there has been a drought and an HIV-positive mother who has already lost her husband cannot provide enough food for both herself and her daughter? What if her neighbors believe she brought all of this on herself?
Poverty is still rampant in Malealea, mortality is high, and these difficult situations are not rare. This is where the MDT comes in.
The MDT focuses on helping the many people who are HIV-positive in our community live positively by filling in the treatment gaps the government cannot reach.
The Trust has purchased clocks for patients who were struggling with schedule adherence, and these people were then able to take their medications at the correct times. It was a small measure that would have been missed by foreign donors, but the staff of the MDT realized it would make a significant difference because of the grassroots nature of our organization. We also work tirelessly to support our HIV+ community members nutritionally and socially through our E’pap distribution and Support Group programs.
Additionally, we support the elderly in our community by providing nutritional supplements to keep them strong in the winter when it is harder to meet those needs, and provide transportation stipends to cover the costs of reaching the hospital for those who need greater care than our local clinic can provide.
Please explore this page to discover more about our other work to keep our community healthy and active and how you can help.