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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 14:56 UK

Lesotho Aids diary: Nurse

The BBC, in conjunction with Medecins Sans Frontieres, has been following the lives of seven people from the community of St Rodrigue, in Lesotho, as they struggle to live with and work through the country's HIV/Aids crisis. This is the final instalment.


Thakane Motete | Nurse | St Rodrigue

Nurse Thakane Motete

It's not nice seeing a child getting sick.

We try to tell women when they are pregnant how it is possible to prevent transmitting HIV to their child.

We try to tell them that having a sick child can bring much sadness to a family, because the family also suffers emotionally when a child has HIV.

Some listen. Some don't take our advice, because of the stigma of telling the in-laws and the husband.

Often a woman feels like it's better to lose a child if it means saving the marriage

The PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission) programme here is making a real difference.

This time last year, two children died in the programme. But this month this year, no child has died. This is great.

Before the PMTCT programme here in St Rodrigue, you'd find that there were more children who were infected because the mothers didn't test for HIV during pregnancy and therefore did not access the preventive treatment to reduce the risk of transmission.

When PMTCT started in 2006, the nurses here didn't have that much knowledge about how to prevent transmission of HIV.

Saving lives

But now, we are saving lives - especially if the mother feels she can cooperate and can be open about her status to her family, so they can then help her out and offer her support.

We get angry when a child gets infected unnecessarily.

Nurse Thakane Motete
It can be so difficult for women to tell their husbands about their status
Yet, at the same time we truly empathise with the mother, because she probably didn't have the knowledge about how she could have prevented transmitting the virus to her child.

Or maybe she had a really hard time making a decision about telling her husband about her status.

It can be so difficult for some women to tell their husbands, or husband's family, about their status.

The mothers are so dependent. Often a woman feels like it's better to lose a child if it means saving the marriage.

Some women are so dependent because they have no other way to get food except from their husbands.

I wish a PMTCT could include both parents more.

Equal partners

If we could find some way to bring husbands into the programme more, then they could also learn about what precautions they should take to avoid their child getting infected.

If the husband is included, he might be able to better explain to his parents what the situation is.

This would make it so much easier for a woman to tell her in-laws.

The in-laws will hear it better from him than if she tells them.

They will get less angry. If the husband can tell them about the status, then the in-laws are more likely to share the care of the baby.

It would be nice if one day this is what happened, because it not really the case at the moment.




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