4 year HIV/AIDS orphan patient, Dora Quaytsu who hails from Ningo-Prampram, a suburb in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana is battling for her life as her great grandmother struggles to feed her to complement the anti-retroviral drug which is meant to keep her healthy.
The slowly dying little girl contracted the disease through her late parents who died from the disease. Speaking to crimecheckghana, 59 year old Gladys Ackan, a patient and an advocate for the disease, narrated how Dora’s great granny struggles to meet the demand of nutritious meals for the little girl because of financial difficulties. Gladys who contracted the disease in 2004 said she still looks healthy because of the suitable intake of nutritious food along with anti-retroviral drugs. She said though Dora is on treatment, she is malnourished and that has made her to wane and has had some lumps developed on her body.
“The old woman is too weak to work to be able to adequately cater for the needs of the girl. When you visit the little girl and the old woman you will be shocked to see the kind of food they eat. There is no balance in the diet. The old woman grinds raw pepper and eats with ‘banku’ without fish or any source of protein because that is what she could afford but that can’t help the child.” She said.
The 59 year old woman together with a Community Health Nurse, Enock Fynn and Irene Kpodo, an HIV/AIDS and Human Rights advocate who were touched by the story of little Dora but were helpless and had to run to Crime Check Foundation, CCF for support, indicated that the disease is prevalent in the Ningo-Prapram area among the young population but because of stigma they are reluctant to disclose their status.
The 33 year old nurse, Enock Fynn, who facilitates the distribution of the anti-retroviral drug in the Ningo-Prampram community, said an HIV/AIDS patient will need to have a balanced diet to be able to look healthy because the drug has a very high potency which could worsen a patient’s situation if the person does not eat well. “Dora can live to the age God has designated for her on earth only if she eats well as she takes her medication. The anti-retroviral drug can make one’s health deteriorate if the person does not eat well and that is the cause Dora’s deteriorating health.” He explained.
40 year old Irene Kpodo who contracted the disease seventeen years ago said she has four children but still looks healthy because she adheres to the eating well principle. Mrs. Kpodo bemoaned the stigmatization of patients with the disease saying, it has been the cause of deaths of many patients in the country. “Many patients wish they would go for the medicine which is given without charge but because of stigma they are reluctant. Without the medicine one can’t survive the disease so such people die prematurely. My family is doing well even though we live with the disease.” She said.
Both advocates, Mrs. Ackan and Mrs. Kpodo called on the general public to rather support people living with the disease than stigmatizing them because that is more deadly.
Crime Check Foundation, CCF in view of its upcoming new series on supporting HIV/AIDS patients, gave Dora’s great granny One Thousand Five Hundred Ghana Cedis and food items including four bags of rice, tins of milk, sugar, salt, drinks, tomato paste in order to see to the nutritional need of little Dora.
CCF is appealing to compassionate individuals and organizations to come to the aid of little Dora to enable her have a nutritious meal as she takes her anti-retroviral medication to keep her healthy.
The Foundation’s upcoming series on HIV/AIDS will seek to solicit support for HIV/AIDS patients who have been neglected because of stigma.