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Staying healthy for my baby

Staying healthy for my baby
© UNICEF Denmark/2013/Tine Helgers
“I get tested twice a year, it’s important, especially now that I am carrying a baby,” says 22-year old Teresa.

Beira, February 2014 – With more than a tenth of the population infected, HIV and AIDS exact a terrible price on human health and wellbeing in Mozambique, especially for women and children. Today there are around 150,000 children under 15 living with HIV. Women are more likely to be infected than men, and despite good strides made recently, only very few children who need treatment are receiving it.

Teresa is small in size but has a healthy glow and enough spark to fill a room. Dressed to the nines, she stands out in the crowd of mothers gathered at the health center in Ponto Gea. She listens attentively to the facilitators from Kuplumussana, a women’s organisation working with HIV positive mothers and families, as they talk about keeping healthy and avoiding infection. She is engaged and doesn’t seem particularly shy about putting up her hand to answer questions.

“I get tested twice a year,” Teresa says. “I know it’s important, especially now that I am carrying a baby.”

Teresa is 6 months pregnant, and says that she learned about the importance of testing when HIV mobilizers visited the coffee shop in Beira where she was working.

She listened carefully to their messaging. And what they had to say about regular tests and staying healthy made an impression on her. She has only had one partner, her boyfriend and father of her child, but now that she is pregnant she wants to be extra careful about HIV to make sure she doesn’t get infected or pass it on to her unborn child.

“My boyfriend agrees with me and checks his status regularly, as well,” she says. He works far away in Gorogongosa, and Teresa says she will marry him as soon as she has completed her final year in school.

Teresa still lives with her mother, and besides getting married, she dreams of one day opening a kindergarten so she can work with children on a daily basis. She wants a solid future for herself and for her child.

“I want my child to be able to attend school and go to church,” says Teresa with a big smile and her eyes twinkling. Church is an important part of her life and community, she explains.

“I want my child to have everything that I never had.”

UNICEF has integrated HIV programming across its work and continues to be seen as a leader and catalyst for eliminating mother to child transmission in Mozambique.  UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health in defining policies, planning interventions at scale, coordinating stakeholders and leveraging resources nationally and internationally.

For more information, please contact:

Patricia Nakell, UNICEF Mozambique
Email: pnakell@unicef.org

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, 
Email: gpereira@unicef.org

 

 
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