HIV patients mark 10 years on treatment
to wake up in the wee hours of the day and walk long distances to find water.
“At times, I would spend three days without water because I needed to get to a commonly-used well very early to get the commodity,” Ms Ralitabo said.
Sometimes, she would go to Motubatsana River – about an hour’s walk from the village – to dig holes in the dry canal for water.
“We didn’t care whether it was clean or not. All we wanted was to find water to survive. I am now the happiest person in this village. I never thought I would see the day when I would drink water straight from the tap,” said Ms Ralitabo.
“I grew up in this area and for the 78 years I have lived, walking long distances to collect water was the order of the day. We would usually walk in groups of four women as a safety measure when collecting wa- ter.”
In his remarks during the handover ceremony, Kolo #49 Member of Parliament Paul Teboho Lehloenya said over the years countless girls were forced to drop out of school in the constituency due to water scarcity.
Mr Lehloenya said he was happy the facilities were being handed-over to the village in August, which is African Women’s Month.
“Women and girl children are the most affected by water scarcity because they are forced to walk long distances to collect the valuable resource for their household chores,” said Mr Lehloenya.
Girl children, he said, also had to contend with walking long distances to and from school every day.
“After returning home, girls were the most affected by the scarcity because they also had to walk long distances to collect water from unpro- TWENTY-THREE HIV patients adhering to antiretroviral treatment (ART) for 10 years yesterday celebrated the milestone at Tlali Clinic in Ha-moitšopeli.
The patients started consistently taking ART after testing Hiv-positive in 2006. The clinic initiated the celebrations in 2014 to motivate other HIV patients to follow suit.
Addressing the gathering, which also included Health Minister Dr Molotsi Monyamane (pictured), Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) District Technical Advisor Dr Yetunve Fasmvilele said the celebrations were important because they inspired HIV patients to take their medication religiously and know their status.
“This event is meant to show the public there is life for Hiv-positive people when they correctly take their medication. So there is actually nothing to fear. This should be a lesson to others who still live in fear,” Dr Famviyele said.
“All of the patients we are celebrating with today ay have very low viral loads because they y consistently take their medication. Theyy take the right dose at the right time.”
She added:ded: “This ceremony is an eye opener for someme people and shows what needs to be done foror them to take the step forward to test andnd treat so we can achieve the 90/90/90 target.”
Under the treatment target, 90 0 percent of all people e living with HIV would uld know their HIV status, tus, 90 percent of all people ople diagnosed with HIVV would receive sustained antiretroviral therapy andnd 90 percent of all peoplee receiving antiretroviral therapy would have viral suppression. Lesotho’s Hiv-prevalence rate increased from 23 percent to 25 percent, according to the Demographic and Health Survey report released in June this year. One of the patients, Motsie Ramafikeng, said he adhered to ART because he wanted to remain alive for the sake of his family. “I am so happy today that I took my medication for this long and am still healthy. I want to encourage everyone to take charge of their lives and visit health centres to get tested without worrying about what other people will say,” he said. “There will always be people who want to demoralise others, but my encouragement is for everyone to be strong and go and get tested. HIV patients should also take their medication correctly and they will get support from their families.” For his part, Dr Monyamane said Tlali Health Centre was a good example for other health centres because it showed there was hope and life for people living with HIV. “Today, I am certain we can beat HIV if we can have people with this kind of attitude whe when it comes to their wellbe wellbeing,” Dr Monyamane said. “We really do need to take measures to inform an and educate people about HIV and how people should be behave. As health prac practitioners, we ne need to take an extra step and be an examp example to the publ public by first k knowing our status b before encou encouraging o others to do so.”