Friday, September 11, 2009
To Lanet, not far from Nakuru. We turned up for a support group meeting for people with HIV. It's not unusual for people to be very late for meetings but an hour after it was due to start it was clear that people were not going to come. I wouldn't blame them if the rumour I heard was true; that one of the local churches was distributing free maize! Well, after a while three people drifted in. They wanted some medicines that we were able to distribute. Two got their medicines and drifted out.
One man sat and talked for a while. Although many people who need antiretroviral drugs in Kenya are not getting them, perhaps as many as 65%, some of those who do get them are very happy to have arrested the disease. This man is healthy and fit to work. Unfortunately, there is no work for him to do. And it's difficult staying fit and healthy with no guaranteed income.
I also met an 11 year old girl who had had meningitis. She had known that she was HIV positive but she was not receiving enough medical attention to catch the meningitis in time and now she is blind. Her mother refuses to believe that her daughter's eyes could be permanently damaged and has yet to take her to be assessed. Perhaps her sight could be saved. If not, she needs to get back to her education as soon as possible and to get her specific needs attended to.
Some kind of support group may well be able to help the two people I met today, I don't know. But several people I have spoken to have alluded to the fact that there are so many groups and meetings that they can sometimes interfere with each other. Perhaps there's a case for a bit of networking, so support groups can support each other as sell as supporting their members.