Sunday, November 3, 2013

Little orphan beats all odds

Mary Jude is a 13-year-old girl who lost both her parents to AIDS.
Her father died when she was still not born. Her mother died in 2008, leaving Mary with her grandmother, the only relative who cares for the orphaned child. 
Sister Marilyn Babe is in charge of the Catholic Church HIV/AIDS program at the Kimbe Diocese. She says they conducted a HIV test on Mary in 2008 when she was seven years old and sadly found that she was HIV positive, having contracted the virus from her mother.
Sister Babe says she occasionally sends for Mary Jude to check on her health as she lives in Bialla with her grandmother, adding she greatly admires the strength and courage displayed by the young child.
She says Mary June comes to Kimbe quarterly to get her supply of ARV tablets and can be depended on to take those tablets without supervision. 
Their treatment program is that patients have to get their ART supply monthly, but Mary Jude is an exception because of her difficult situation.
Mary Jude is an innocent victim of HIV AIDS. She is in elementary two at Ewase Elementary School in Bialla, West New Britain province. She lives at Area Eight where there’s no government elementary school.
To pay for her school fees her grandmother taught her to plant various food crops such as cucumbers, beans and aibika.
Together with her grandmother they harvest and sell the produce at the market. From the sales she buys lollies and sells at her school to pay her K80 school fee. She is reported to be doing well in her school work.
Mary Jude said students at the elementary school she attends treat her well and she finds no discrimination among the students and the teachers. 
She is hopeful of going on to Bialla Primary School next year.
Sr Babe says although only 13 years old and living with the virus, Mary acts as an adult and looks for ways to support herself, with the only help coming from her grandmother. 
Other relatives have not offered any assistance.
Sr Babe gives ART tablets to her patients every month but Mary Jude gets hers quarterly for various reasons. 
First the distance is far and it’s costly for her to come in every month to get her supply. The other reason is that she can be trusted to take her tablets twice daily without supervision even though she is only a child.
Now that it’s coming toward the end of the year, she is giving Mary a six months supply because of the bad weather around the Christmas and New Year periods.
Sr Babe says Mary is a shining example to other children to be self reliant and to be determined to overcome obstacles in life.
Meanwhile, Sister Babe says they have seen eight success stories so far in the treatment of infected mothers. 
She said these mothers, although HIV positive, did not pass on the virus to their babies.
She said when those mothers tested positive they went on the ART treatment. After delivering, the babies were also put on treatment, allowing the mothers to breastfeed their babies for the first six months only. 
The eight children now aged between one and seven years have proved HIV negative after several tests.

Post Courier