Replacing Despair with Promise
When Martha Ziezo, a community home based care provider, met Wabei, she found a woman who felt helpless and stigmatized.
Care Worker Provides Critical Psychosocial and Medical Help
May 3, 2016
Wabei, a 25-year-old Zambian mother was suicidal. She and her Namibian husband were both HIV positive, as was one of their children. Now she was pregnant again. When Martha Ziezo, a community home based care provider, met Wabei, she found a woman who felt helpless and stigmatized. Wabei thought that her lack of Namibian identity papers was a barrier to receiving treatment.
Martha accompanied Wabei to the local traditional authorities who in turn provided her a written testimonial which she took to the Regional Health Director of the Zambezi region. She then acquired an authorization letter allowing her to receive ART (antiretroviral treatment).
Martha also helped Wabei navigate the proper channels so that her whole family could become enrolled in Project HOPE’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children program in Namibia.
Although Wabei lost two children – one to pneumonia and one to malnutrition – she and her surviving children are now enrolled in the Project HOPE supported OVC program.
Project HOPE began strengthening health care services and providing health education in Namibia in 2002 while implementing HIV/AIDS workplace education programs. HOPE’s programs have since grown to include tuberculosis (TB) treatment and education, strengthening the coping capacities of households and communities caring for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), working to prevent HIV/AIDS among young women and village health banks.
The OVC program under the Namibia Adherence and Retention Project (NARP) was implemented by Project HOPE Namibia with Catholic AIDS Action (CAA) and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). NARP is a three-year project implemented in six regions of Namibia, including the Zambezi region. One of the services included in the package is the provision of treatment adherence and retention support. Providers are trained to follow up to ensure individuals and families are enrolled in care, remain in care, and if they are on treatment, take their medications correctly.
The psychosocial and medical support that Wabei has received was critical in the healing of her family.
“Thank you Martha and the CAA Staff for what you have done for me,” says Wabei. “You saved my life when I wanted to kill myself, you visit me every time to encourage me. It is because of you that I feel strong now. If it wasn’t for you I could be dead leaving my children suffering without a mother. Martha, you are like a mother to me, an angel in time of need. Continue helping other people the way you did to me.”