In this feature, we meet a grandmother from Soweto who is the sole provider for a household of ten. Among the family are her two grandchildren – one is 11 years old and HIV negative, the other is 5 years old, HIV positive and regularly needs treatment from Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The grandmother assumed responsibility for her grandchildren following the AIDS-related deaths of her daughter and son-in-law almost three years ago. Kerry Cullinan and Sue Valentine compiled this report.
The impact of HIV/AIDS on the generation of young parents has resulted in many grandparents assuming responsibility for their orphaned grandchildren. Effective programmes of treatment and care would not only enable parents to live longer, healthier lives, they can also reduce the rate of mother to child transmission of HIV and ensure the birth of healthier children who do not need constant medical care.