Today is WORLD AIDS DAY. A day to reminisce on this killer-disease and educate folks about it.
I worked last night into the early hours of this morning. Just before going to bed, I switched on the TV, and Metro TV (Ghana) was airing CNN International, live. After a few of the news headlines, a programme came on air. I did not pay attention to the name of the programme but it was about a reporter travelling to Zambia and working as a nursing assistant in a hospital. With his role as assistant, he would be in a position to share useful information with the viewers.
Hitherto, I never knew that HIV/AIDS was so devastating in Zambia. The graphic images I saw on TV was simply touching. Most of the sick people in the hospital were HIV-positive, and were only there, to die. After a few days of care, they die, and are moved to the morgue.
So many things were revealed to me, from the 30-mins I watched:
- The stigma faced by people with HIV/AIDS: they are usually abandoned by friends/relatives.
Stigma even in death: Cause of death is not written in the death register. They simply write ‘unknown’ as cause of death.
The morgue doubles as death parlour: Dead bodies are washed and dressed in the morgue.
So many die at home without even being to the hospital.
Some people still refuse outright to play safe (wear protection before the game)
Every 1 in 6 people in Zambia are HIV-positive.
Poverty is endemic in Zambia (I also saw this from a documentary on BBC TV the previous day)
This is serious indeed. I believe more needs to be done for people to change their attitude towards these issues. Else, we’d be fighting a loosing battle.