African AIDS Clinic
December 1st marks the 18th anniversary of World AIDS Day. For many in Africa, every day is AIDS day. But, as Lilla Marigza reports, one clinic there is seeing some progress toward treating the disease…even though medicine is scarce and the odds are enormous.
(Locator: Zimbabwe, Africa)
Miles from the nearest hospital, this tiny nine-year-old boy is suffering from HIV. He depends on this clinic run by the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Africa.
Irene Mapedzamombe / Nurse: “He’s not eating at all. Very wasted.”
The child is one of three being raised by his grandmother because both parents died from AIDS. Half the population of his village is infected.
Roberta Hupprich / United Methodist Missionary: “We treat respiratory illnesses. We treat skin diseases. We treat diarrhea. People have Kaposi’s Sarcoma which is a cancer associated with AIDS, and we treat that.”
At this free clinic, what little medicine is available has to be rationed.
Irene Mapedzamombe / Nurse: “I can’t give the whole thing to one patient.”
At one time the clinic was able to give a small amount of food with medicine, but that’s gotten too expensive. Starvation and homelessness add to the challenge. In 2005, the government tore down more than 90,000 homes. Tens of thousands now live in crude shelters made of rubble and plastic sheeting.
Roberta Hupprich / United Methodist Missionary: “We don’t have a large death rate. We do lose some.”
Despite overwhelming odds, this clinic sees many success stories.
Roberta Hupprich / United Methodist Missionary: “We’ve been very lucky and we’re very thankful.”
The staff here says the clinic survives hand-to-mouth – but it survives…thanks to friends far away in the United States.
Roberta Hupprich / United Methodist Missionary: “Without the churches back home, we would not be functioning. And it’s not huge donations, but it’s a lot of small donations that add up.”
For more information, contact the United Methodist Committee On Relief by logging onto: www.gbgm-umc.org or call toll free: 1-800-554-8583.
Also see: Small United Methodist clinic serves large population with AIDS.