“Look at me, I am healthy again!”
One Client’s Account of Tanzania’s Comprehensive Programming
My name is Anasia Ephraim Sila. I am 30 years old. I have two children. My firstborn is called Glory, she is 6 years old. My secondborn is called Kelvin, he is 3 years old. I am a Christian. Sunday is my favorite day. I attend morning services at Lutheran church, come back home and cook for my family, then attend the prayer and worship session in the afternoon.
Arumeru District Hospital is the closest to my home—only 5 km away. I walk here. I have been attending this facility for many years. I come for family planning methods, baby deliveries, immunization, and other children’s and family members’ illnesses. We all attend this facility.
Last year I had a miscarriage. Before I was discharged, I was counseled for family planning methods so that I could rest before I became pregnant again. In the counseling room, I was also advised to check my HIV status. I agreed. I tested HIV-positive. I received Depo Provera and condoms, so as to protect my husband, and was advised to bring my husband for testing. The counselor advised me to share the information with some of my close relatives or family members who will be supporting me time to time. But so far I haven’t told anyone, except my husband. I am scared of the stigma.
When I told the news to my husband, he was shocked, but agreed to come for testing. He has tested HIV-negative. I am so grateful to him; he accepted me as I am. My own family is very poor. My brothers are drunkards—they would not take care of me at all. My husband cares for me despite his low income. He is a normal mason man and I am a housewife. After counseling, we agreed to stop having more children. We continued with our normal life. We use condoms when we want to make love. But the frequency is low nowadays, as most of the time I am tired and less interested in sex.
Since I tested HIV-positive, I have been visiting the facility every two months for [prophylaxis for opportunistic infections] and check-ups. I am very glad that this facility is able to meet my HIV needs. My health was terrible. I was administered antiretrovirals two months ago. They are expensive medicines. There is no way I could afford them. What I paid was very minimal compared to the care I received. If there hadn’t been these services, I would have died a long time ago. My life was in danger. But now look at me: I am healthy again! I am now living a full and meaningful life like others.
Anasia Ephraim Sila is one of more than 2,000 clients who have been counseled and tested at Arumeru District Hospital, one of 22 EngenderHealth-supported sites in Arusha, Tanzania, and part of a network of 812 health facilities targeted throughout the country. The ACQUIRE Tanzania Project (ATP) is funded by the generous support of the American people through USAID.
Anasia Ephraim Sila