Making a difference for those living with HIV

A new mother with her daughter in Bouake
A new mother with her daughter in Bouake
Micah Clemens, USAID Côte d'Ivoire
The goal of USAID/REVE is to eliminate the vulnerabilities associated with HIV for Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and adolescent girls in Côte d'Ivoire by building the capacity among the beneficiaries, the governmental and community institutions to provide appropriate care, and economic and social support for OVC. 
Ms. A.A., a Person Living with HIV, lives in Bouake in central Côte d'Ivoire and had suffered for a long time from a stomach ulcer that forced her to remain home from work. She saw her revenue drop as her condition worsened, making her incapable of caring for her basic necessities. 
To treat her illness, she sought treatment from "traditional healers" and also bought street medicine. For a long time, Ms. AA believed that traditional healers and the street medicine were the most effective solution because of the widespread availability and low price. Unfortunately, after several months of self-medication, the illness persisted while Ms. A.A.’s savings dwindled. 
During a panel discussion on self-medication, organized by a Community Counselor of the NGO CHEED (receiving technical, logistical and financial support from Save the Children, through the REVE project, funded by USAID), Ms. A.A. learned that the consumption of these drugs have detrimental health effects on people in general and particularly on PLHIV, as well as on their financial resources in the medium and long term. The counselor won the confidence of participants and at the end of the panel discussion, Ms. A.A. expressed interest to meet with the counselor for a further dialogue on the subject.
Ms. A.A. had a face-to-face with the counsellor to explain her situation. She received in depth advices and a small social and environmental survey was done in her community for verification. Then she was actively referred to the health facility for a medical visit and her prescription was paid for by CHEED. A home visit program was implemented and after seven days Ms. A.A. has regained her health and has since resumed her trade with delight. 
Now Ms. A.A. knows that the health facility is her partner for health instead of wasting her money on drugs that are “not guaranteed”. She promises to go to the health facility in case of future illness.
In her own words, Ms. A.A. said “I have spent too much in traditional medicine and in buying street drugs. My health has greatly improved after taking the prescribed medications at the health facility. I am so thankful for the advice and the financial support from USAID through Project REVE.”