World AIDS Day: “I visit patients’ houses secretly to look after them when they are too ill to go to hospital.”
Thiri, 37, found out that she was HIV positive during a routine checkup while pregnant in 2013. She was afraid and alone. “I was so scared that others would find out that I had HIV so I didn’t leave the house for a long time. I couldn’t tell my parents.”
Daw Thet Thet lives with her husband and two young daughters, a three-year-old and a baby of six months, in Hlaingtharya, a low-income suburb of Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon. A few months ago, Daw Thet Thet’s husband, a motorbike taxi driver, started coughing and having fever. Concerned about costs, they delayed seeking health care until the situation became serious.
For Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the months of June, July and August can be particularly risky. This is the monsoon season and the refugees’ flimsy bamboo and tarpaulin shelters offer little protection against severe weather and flooding. High population density combined with deforestation have created a high risk of landslides. Community Partners International (CPI) trains and equips a network of 80 Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to provide emergency preparedness, first response and rescue services to their communities during the monsoon season. CPI’s first responder training covers a range of key topics including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), wound care, hemorrhage control, and safe patient lifting and transportation. CHVs are equipped with rescue kits that include first aid supplies, a life vest, a head torch, stretchers and throw lines. We recently spoke to two CPI-supported CHVs, Rihana and Rohima, about the first response and rescue services that they provide to their community in Camp 1W of the Kutupalong Expansion Site in Cox's Bazar.
Shomshida lives in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp, Kutupalong, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Kutupalong is currently home to more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State. Myanmar. She shares her small shelter, a rickety structure of bamboo and tarpaulin, with her husband and two-year old son. In late August 2017, she fled the violence in Rakhine State with her extended family. They walked for 15 days through jungle and across rivers, eventually reaching the border and crossing into Bangladesh. Her elderly father was unable to walk so they carried him throughout the arduous journey.
Daw Theint Su, a peer educator at Population Services International’s (PSI) TOP Centers (formerly the Targeted Outreach Program), has been living with HIV since 2003. Here she shares her experiences and talks about her work supporting HIV education and prevention.