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Home based centre leads anti AIDS battle

When Ms Girly Mothibedi got pregnant, she was highly elated. 

She would think of adorable names for the tiny little life growing inside her, its gender and beauty, and all these gave her joy. 

She would imagine herself emerging from thr hospital building holding her bundle of joy. 

As she waited for the big day, she had to register for ante-natal care at the local health facility. 

That is where all hell broke loose. She was not only pregnant, she had then then dreaded HIV/AIDS virus, which was notorious for ruining lives and causing many deaths. 

Those were the dreadful and scary days of her life. It was like the whole world was falling apart and she was facing death. 

In those days, HIV/AIDS was highly stigmatised and terrifying. The country had its life expectancy decreased to a mere 47 years owing to the disease. 

“I was one of the first people to enroll for PMTCT programme, that child is well and schooling,” says an elated Ms Mothibedi recalling events that took place almost 20 years back. 

She attest one thing, if the government had not stepped up efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS head-on, she could be history now and so would be her child. 

The government made the country one of the first models in the fight against HIV/AIDS and ultimately life expectancy improved. 

The fight has been a concerted efforts between the government and implementing partners such as Gabane Home Based Care. 

In fact, when the government realised the exasperating impact of the diseases, it made an appeal to individuals, churches, non-governmental association and community members to come onboard and tackle the disease.   

“When the appeal was made, churches in Gabane came together and started the centre with the help of dikgosi,” states Gabane Home Based Care coordinator Ms Boitumelo Leburu. 

The center was started in 2007 in response to the devastating impact of the diseases, which had created a demand for a healthcare service which goes beyond the traditional health facilities, but could also reach out to the patients at their homesteads and relieve overburdened hospitals and clinics. 

“When we started, we would go on house to house visits and report what we see to local clinics,” Ms Leburu remembers. 

The situation was disheartening and the journey was not for the faint hearted, not only were the patients bedridden, many lacked social, spiritual, physiological and physical support. “It gave patients the sense of belonging and being cared for by people other than their loved ones or family members,” she says. 

Nonetheless, as years progressed, many of the community home based centers which were relying on donors soon found themselves fighting for survival, as they faced shortage of funds, trained staff, lack of transport and some soon closed shops. 

Yet Gabane Home Based Care remained resilient despite its volunteers having to trot on foot during the scotching sun to check patients. “We found some patients without accommodation and we have to respond to those challenges,” she states. 

As of today, the Centre has built and donated five houses to some to their clients in Gabane and Mokolodi. 

This was in addition to services such as providing care to the patients who are registered with the local clinics for home-based care, provision of services to support orphans and vulnerable children and manning support groups. 

“Indeed we come a long way, 20 years in the civil society is not a small matter,” says the Center’s Board Chairperson Mr Ben Motlhalamme. As they move on, their main aim is to have a hospice and also kick start a project which will empower the society on parenting skills. 

“With our prudent financial management and accountability, we hope to find partners,” he says. A trait which has not escaped the government eye. 

“Yours is a classic example of partnership in terms of community service provision,” said Dr Haruna Jibril during the centre’s 20th anniversary celebrations recently. 

“You have worked hard to keep in line with government regulations,” said Dr Jibril to the center. And as the country joins the rest of the world in embarking on a fast-track strategy to end the AIDS pandemic, the government is counting on partners such as Gabane Home Based Care to save its most treasured resource, its people.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABANE

Event : INTERVIEW

Date : Oct 03 Tue,2017