Caring for HIV positive orphans

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: Nakuba zingekho izibalo zakamuva ezibonisa inani labantwana abazalwa negciwane lesandulelangculaza kepha balinganiselwa emakhulwini amathathu ezinkulungwane abantwana abayizintandane abazalwa benegciwane lesandulelangculaza kuleli laseNingizimu Africa. Lezizibalo bezingehla ukube abazali balabantwana baphumela obala bazihlole bese belandela uhlelo PMTCT oluvikela abantwana abangakazalwa ukuba bathole igciwane komama babo. USindisiwe Ndlovu wasemijondolo yase Newtown bude buduze naKwaMakhutha ogwini oluseNingizimu neTheku, ngokweminyaka yakhe kufanele ngabe usesesikoleni kepha unomntwana wakhe aphinde adlale indima kamama kumntwana kadadewabo ongasekho ophila ngokugula ngenxa yokuthi uzalwe enegciwane lesandulelangculaza.

SINDI NDLOVU: Umntwana lona engimphethe okasisi wami akasekho washona. Kusho ukuthi sazi late ukuthi uHIV positive. Wasitshela emva kwesikhathi okungukuthi wasitshela namuhla kwathi ngakusasa washona. Kwasiphatha kabuhlungu thina njengomndeni ngoba ukube washo kusenesikhathi ngabe khona esakwenza ukumsiza. Umntwana naye manje uyagula futhi sesitholile ukuthi unalo igciwane.

MABUTHO: Kanti nentombi endala uBetty Ndlovu engugogo kamufi yena usola isoka likamzukulu wakhe ukuthi ilona leli elalingafuni ukuthi adalule ukuthi unalokhu kufa ngoba lesaba ukuthi nalo lizohlazeka. Nayo intombi endala ithi ukuba umzukulu wayo wadalula kusenesikhathi ngabe mhlawumbe zikhona izaba ezenziwa.

BETTY NDLOVU: Phela ukube washeshe wadalula kusenesikhathi sasizoma ukuthi sisheshise simhambise ezindaweni lapho ayezothola khona usizo, inkinga indoda yakhe lena eyavele yadabula izincwadi zakhe.

MABUTHO: UMndeni waKwaNdlovu njengayo yonke imindeni ekhona endaweni kawunaye umuntu osebenzayo. USindi okungeyena osefana nomama womntwana kadadewabo uthi nakuba ekhuluma nje kungenxa yemali yegrant yengane yakhe kanye nokudla nosizo lwezokwelashwa okulethwa abaseKanya Hospice, eManzimtoti ukusiza umntwana ohlala ngokugula. Kanti basalindele ukuthola ifoster care grant yomntwana kadadewabo njengoba besafake isicelo.

SINDI NDLOVU: Imali esiyisebenzisayo yileyo yegrant yengani yami esizimelela ngayo. Noma incane, kodwa siyazama ukuthi izinto esizidingayo sizothole noma zingeneli. Kodwa abakwa hospice bayafika bezombheka ukuthi umntwana unjani babuze nempilo yengane ukuthi injani.

MABUTHO: Kanti ebangeni elingaphansi kwamakhilomitha ayikhulu ukusuka ogwini oluseNingizimu nesifundazwe saKwaZulu-Natal enyakatho nomuzi waseThekwini, ugogo uThandazile Sithole ogane kwaDlamini ezimangweni eNanda naye ubhekene nenkinga efanayo yokugada umzukulu wakhe ophila negciwane lesandulelangculaza wendodakazi yakhe eshone ngo 2003. Naye ukhala esokuthi ukube bazi kusenesikhathi ngesimo sendodakazi yakhe mhlawumbe zikhona izaba ezikhona ababengazenza ukuvikela umntwana angazalwa negciwane. Uthi njengamanje lokhu kugula kukamzukulu wakhe kumhlukumeza kakhulu njengoba naye ezigulela futhi enganabani wokumsiza.

THANDAZILE DLAMINI: Ngiyagula kodwa kudingeka ukuthi ngisukume ngigeze lengane iye esikolweni ngiyiwashele nalaba abanye ngibawashele, ngisho eKing Edward (Hospital) ngihamba ngamadolo noma ngigula ngimyisa kudokotela anginaye umuntu ongisizayo.

MABUTHO: USister Gloria Shabalala wase Highway hospice ophethe Nanda Day Centre esiza abanegciwane lesandulelangculaza ikakhulukazi abantwana abazalwe naleligciwane uthi inkinga enkulu kuthi abantu basenokwesaba ukuphumela obala ngestatus sabo okwenza ukuthi nezaba ebezingenziwa ukube badulula kusenesikhathi zingabe zisenzeka.      

SISTER GLORIA SHABALALA: Abantu abaphethwe igciwane baningi kulendawo. Kodwa ke abanye bayafihla kuze kufike sebegula kakhulu sesingasakwazi ukubasiza. Kunezintandane eziningi kulendawo ezigadwe ngogogo abaziphilisa ngempesheni yabo yokuguga. Kukhulu ukufihla ukuthi igciwane lengculaza likhona nasebetholakele ukuthi banalo abanye babo babuye babonakale benza izinto ekade nibatshela ukuthi bangazenzi, njengokuthi nje abantu benze ucaci olungaphephile. Kanti iningi labo igege esencane.

MABUTHO: Nakuba uluhlelo lwe Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV okuhloswe ngalo ukuvikela abantwana abazalwa omama abanegciwane ukuba bangalitholi lungesona isixazululo esiphelele kodwa.

Ngokwezibalo zanyakenye (2006), ezikhishwe umnyango wezempilo kuyavela ukuthi kubantwana abangu 19 758 abazalwe omama abanegciwane lesandulelangculaza abangu 16 288 abazange balithole kwathi abangu 3470 bona balithola. Lokhu kuyizinkomba zokuthi nakuba loluhlelo lwe Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission lungesona isixazululo esiphele kodwa luyasiza ukwehlisa isibalo sabantwana abathola igciwane kubazali babo.

SEE ENGLISH SUMMARY

Caring for HIV positive orphans

Despite the existence of interventions to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, the number of AIDS orphans also infected with HIV is increasing in the country.

 

Although there are no latest official statistics of the number of HIV-infected children in South Africa, they are estimated to be around 300 000. These numbers could have been reduced had their mothers been enrolled onto the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program. Unfortunately, because of the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS some women prefer to stay away from attending antenatal clinics where they know that they would be tested for HIV, which means that their HIV status, if positive, will remain unknown. As a result, their unborn babies are put at risk of contracting the virus.

 

Some of these women do not see their babies grow because they succumb to AIDS, leaving their families with a burden of looking after their HIV-infected children.   Sindi Ndlovu from Newtown informal settlement near KwaMakhutha south of Durban is of school age, she has her own baby, but she has she has to also to play the role of mother to her late sister’€™s HIV infected baby. The baby is often sick and its grandmother is too old to care for it. Sindi has to fulfill that role.   The soft-spoken Sindi believes that had her sister revealed her status in time, she could have been enrolled onto the government’€™s PMTCT program to prevent the baby from contracting the virus.

 

She says although her sister did reveal her status, ‘€œit was too late because she died a day after she told the family that she was HIV-positive. It hurt us as a family because had she revealed in time, perhaps, as a family we could have done something to assist.   Now the child is sick and we have discovered that she is also HIV-positive’€.

 

Sindi’€™s grandmother Betty Ndlovu suspects her grand-daughter’€™s boyfriend of forcing her to hide her HIV status to avoid the embarrassment and stigma which is associated with HIV/AIDS.

 

The Ndlovu family, like the majority of the households in the area, does not have a stable source of income to take care of themselves and a sickly child’€™s medical expenses.   Their only guaranteed source of income is Sindi’€™s baby child support grant but they are still waiting for the application of the foster care grant for her sister’€™s baby. She, however, says sometimes people from Kanya Hospice do give them food parcels which help them to supplement their diet.

 

Less than 100 kilometers from Sindi’€™s home, 78-year old Thandazile MaSithole Dlamini of eZimangweni section at Nanda Township north of Durban  is also facing a similar situation of looking after her late daughter’€™s HIV-positive six-years-old son. Her daughter’€™s story is similar to that of Sindi’€™s sister because she did not reveal her statues in time. Dlamini says her sickly grandson is making her life much more difficult because she is also struggling with her own ill health, as she is now old.

 

‘€œI am sick myself. But now I have to bath this child before going to school and do the washing for him and others. Even when I am sick I have to struggle taking him (child) to King Edward (Hospital) because I have nobody to help me,’€ she said.

 

According to Sister Gloria Shabalala of the Durban-based Highway hospice  – who works in the Nanda community – the majority of the people in the area are scared to disclose their status because of the stigma.

 

‘€œWe have so many HIV-positive people in this area, but they hide their status up until they have full-blown AIDS. And we have a high number of AIDS orphans who are looked after by grandmothers with their old age pension money. What makes it worse is that even those who have found out about their status go back and do the very same things that you have been warning them about, like having unsafe sex. And most of them are young.’€

 

A 2006 report released by the Department of Health last year shows that a total of 19 758 babies born to mothers living with HIV – who were put under PMTCT programme – were tested for HIV infection last year. About 16 288 babies tested HIV-negative, while 3 470 babies tested HIV-positive. This perhaps goes to shows how effective the Prevention of Mother-To-Child HIV transmission could be if implemented properly and expectant mothers are not scared to present to their health care centers, for the sake of their babies.  

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