Shelters Provided For Abandoned HIV Patients In Myanmar
Author: Branislava Jokovic
Thursday 7th of March 2013 10:23:01 PM


In a small clinic in the suburbs of Yangon (Myanmar), 20 volunteers are taking care of 300 HIV positive patients who were left behind by a healthcare system that is falling apart due to the brutal military rule in Myanmar.

At the clinic's shelters you can find two traditional wooden houses where the patients have a place to stay, a kitchen and a bathroom – although these are combined due to lack of space- In three rooms, including one reserved for women, each patient has a few square meters in which they keep personal belongings such as photos and souvenirs.

This clinic is ran completely by volunteers, who often have the HIV virus themselves. They make sure that the patients get three meals a day and the treatment they need, such as pain killers, antiretroviral therapy and medicine against tuberculosis.

Since the housing relies on local donors and funds, the patients who want to can help the organization with earning some extra money by selling clothes or accessories they make themselves in a small sewing workshop. This doesn’t only help the organization, but also the patients because it gives them a chance to work side by side and forget about their troubles for a moment.

The numbers of HIV positive people are very high in Myanmar and it is worrying to see that, from the 120 000 people in need of treatment, only a third gets the medicine they need to fight AIDS.

I would like that initiatives such as this, where people come together to fight the illness, inspire other policy makers or individuals to do the same!

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(The picture was taken on February 15, 2013 and it shows a woman and her son, both HIV-positive, lying on a mat at a clinic in the outskirts of Yangon. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)


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