Testimony: Esther Orege from Ndhiwa

“My name is Esther Orege, I am 41 years old and I have five children. When I discovered that I was HIV-positive, in 2001, my husband left me. I was alone, I was sick and I was sad. I was also very weak. Then I joined MSF’s HIV programme in Homa Bay and was able to receive antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for free. But it was far from my home, and it cost me 400 KSH to go there and come back every month.

Fortunately, today, I can walk to Ndhiwa hospital to get my ARV drugs, and I only need to come once every three months. When we come to the clinic, there is a health educator who gives us advice in a group on our health, our treatment, nutrition… Then we give in our cards and we are called in, one by one, to be weighed and to see the doctor. We are asked if anything has changed, if we are well, and if there are any upcoming issues. Now my CD4 count [the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the blood] is done every six months. When we come back for the next clinic, we are given the results. They update our files and then we collect our drugs from the pharmacy just behind the building. It is so much easier than before.

I am confident that, in the future, I will be able to work and I will be able to take care of my family. I’m going to live to my old age. Already I have a granddaughter, and I hope I will live to see my great grand-daughter.”