COVID-19 is the biggest global health, economic and social crisis of our lifetime. The poorest and most vulnerable will be hit hardest, including the 1.6m people living with HIV/AIDs (PLWHA) in Tanzania. One of these is Veronica Joseph, a 33 year old widow and mother of seven.
Due to her compromised immunity she is vulnerable to infection and has a lower chance of survival. Ace Africa has provided an emergency food package, counselling and installed simple handwashing equipment at her house. She can now take her AVR medication safely and feed her family. This is her story.
Fear and hunger – the impact of COVID-19
Veronica’s first husband died in 2014, her last husband in 2017. When the first COVID-19 case in Tanzania was confirmed in March, Veronica was extremely worried. Like all PLWHA, she can easily get infected and is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell.
When Ace staff first visited her in May, Veronica could not leave her home to buy food in the market, or look for part time jobs due the danger of contracting COVID-19. And due to stigma faced by PLWHA, she struggled to get support from other community members.
Her family began to eat only one meal a day. She worried about the health of her children and herself as antiretro viral drugs cannot be taken on an empty stomach due to adverse side effects.
Ace delivered an emergency food package: rice, nutritious flour, sugar, a pack of tea, a bar of soap and beans. Vegetables were provided by a local support group. Our staff prepared her a bowl of porridge from the flour. They sat and spoke to Veronica, and shared with her information about COVID-19 and preventive measures she can take to protect herself and her family.
Ace staff also installed a simple handwashing facility at her home, a ‘leaky tin’, to ensure high levels of hygiene – for her family and any visitors. She and her children were also given masks and shown how to use them.
Now Veronica and her family eat three meals a day and Veronica can safely continue taking her ARV medications.
Ace is providing practical support to people in desperate need and changing their daily lives. There are many others that we want to help. But we can’t do it alone.
Click here to read more and support Ace where you can. We are determined to help more people like Veronica.