BLOG from Africa Part III – HIVSA

This week our colleague Anouk pays a working visit to our projects in Africa. This is her blog:

HIV South Africa

''Today we visited HIVSA (HIV South Africa), the project that Orange Babies supports since the beginning. The programme supported by Orange Babies focusses on pregnant women. Over the years a lot has changed. The government has even adopted one of the HIVSA/Orange Babies programmes! First a short meeting is held at the office and I meet the team. It is fantastic to finally get to know the people behind the project after five years of contact.

Workshops for pregnant women

After the meeting we go to one of the clinics where HIVSA focusses on pregnant women. Here they give workshops to pregnant women. The ‘I act’ group is a closed group of pregnant women. After being tested positive for HIV, they receive information and medication to prevent them from transmitting HIV to their babies. Then they attend 6 sessions where they are informed about opening up about their HIV status to their partners and the people around them. They also receive support from peers and of course they can ask all the questions they have about HIV. If they complete the workshop, they receive a breast pump in order to breastfeed safely. During the workshop, various women get up to share their stories with me. I’m impressed that all women have accepted their status. This usually occurs when a relative or a friend is also HIV positive. This also proves that HIV is still such a big problem… It’s special to see how strong these women are, how they share being HIV positive with their partners and are holding them accountable for getting them pregnant.

''Power women around the table!''

At night we attend a farewell dinner for our Country Manager Adrienne, who dedicated herself completely to the projects in South Africa. All project leaders are present. Like chairman of the board Uneke said later that night: “Power women around the table!” These women really make a difference in the lives of so many mothers and children… It’s so great to be part of this and to meet so many inspiring persons. I feel blessed!''

Would you like to know more about HIVSA? Read more