LAST MILE HEALTH TO PLHIV. TREATMENT ADHERENCE.
Esther Grem is a 40-year-old single mother of 2 who comes from Mpamantha in Nkhotakota. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 during one of her antenatal visits when she was pregnant with her first child. Grem says due to lack of more information, she did not manage to stay adherent to treatment to the point that her first born was also diagnosed with HIV at 2 years. “My daughter and I would frequently get sick by then” says Grem.
She was introduced to FOCCAD health programing in 2013 through the last mile health approach championed by community health agents and outreach service delivery. “We were following up on her as a defaulter and when we found her and her daughter they were very sick” says Charity Gwaluka one of the Community Health Agents and an expert client under FOCCAD. Grem was then registered into the PMTCT/ART program and received intensive monitoring and counselling and supported with emergency transport services ever since to access treatment from Nkhotakota District Hospital (30km). Grem says the support that she received from FOCCAD through throughout these years using CBO, Community, clinic collaboration has been an encouragement for her to stay adherent to treatment. As a result she has even managed to prevent her 2-year-old daughter from contracting the Virus.
Grem expressed that she now rarely gets sick and her Viral Load results are always below detectable levels. In the month of August 2020, she went with her 6 weeks old daughter for DBS test and it has come out negative. “I know she will also come out negative at 2 years and when she does I will bring your (as in FOCCAD’S) daughter so you can see her. Over the past years, Grem has enjoyed well supported 60 visits to the health facilities without spending and the community health agents have visited her 100 times.
“Grem is one of the most adherent clients we have, she never misses an appointment and she sets an example to other women who are also positive, too bad we could not save the first born” expressed Gwaluka the CHA. Grem is among over 3456 FOCCAD supports and over 9256 women living with HIV supported through emergency transport system and last mile health of reaching the hard to reach in Malawi.
FOCCAD last mile health supports women, children and young adults access quality SRHR through emergency transport systems to health facilities and last mile health outreach services to hard to reach homes.