Posts Tagged ‘HIV’

Babies at Risk

Posted: October 28, 2010 in News
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By Nobulungisa Mangisa

Could this little unborn life be in danger?

The national public service strike has caused many disadvantaged people who depend on public health services to lose their lives. Many school children, especially matric pupils, have lost three weeks of school time, as well as the hope of a better future. Has money become the main driving force in the world, leaving no care for the youth, the ailing or the elderly?

By looking at the impact of the national health services strike on HIV positive pregnant women and their babies in South Africa, questions need to be answered, and justice needs to be served. Has this demand of a wage increase caused a rise in babies who are born HIV positive when we were so close to curbing it to zero? Have innocent souls who know nothing about money or wage negotiations been caused irreparable damage over this?

According to statistics, only three in ten babies who are born to HIV positive mothers will actually be HIV positive. It is unfortunate, because they never know beforehand which ones will be born with the virus, and so they are not able to do anything until the baby is born.

Sandisa Sisu, a 7-month pregnant HIV positive woman, was unable to get her treatment during the national strike for two weeks. “I am so worried about my baby. She had a chance at life and now because of what we could not control, she could have this dreadful disease. I am just trusting in the Lord that she is okay. That is all I can do at this point”.

How many mothers did not get help beforehand and had to give birth at home when they were HIV positive during the strike? Did their babies receive the life-saving nevirapine or zidovudine? Was this their only chance at survival?

There is no doubt that the national public workers strike caused many unnecessary misfortunes. Many babies were born HIV positive that could have been saved. Many psychiatric patients relapsed. Many people died who could still be alive.

Money, power and authority has cost many families their breadwinners. Where will their next meal come from now that the father, mother or uncle has died because (s)he could not receive appropriate health care in time? What about the ailing baby who is only a month old, the dreadful HIV already taking a toll on his or her small body?

All that is left to say now is that perhaps Christians were right in saying that money is the root of all evil.