Presentation on theme: "MAC AIDS FUND & UNICEF PARTNERSHIP in INDIA A Photo Essay AUGUST 2013."— Presentation transcript:
MAC AIDS FUND & UNICEF PARTNERSHIP in INDIA A Photo Essay AUGUST 2013
An estimated 250,000 people are living with HIV in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, including 5,000 children. Over 17,000 deaths due to HIV has been reported in this state. Sunitha (name withheld) and her mother are among them. This is their story of resilience and courage against all odds.
In partnership with the Government of India, UNICEF with the support from MAC AIDS Fund is currently working on rolling out a telemedicine initiative for children, which will ensure that quality services are made available to families such as Sunithas who are living with HIV.
Sunitha, lost her father when she was six years old. Her father was diagnosed with HIV in 2002, a year after she was born. Her mother, Kalaiselvi and elder brother, Subbu were also found to be positive. Fearing stigma and ostracisation from the community, Kalaiselvi and her husband refused to accept the fact and avail the treatment services. Death of Sunithas father and brother in 2007, forced Kalaiselvi to seek support from the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre, in Krishangiri district of Tamil Nadu. After the community came to know about the HIV status of Sunitha and her mother, they faced exclusion.
Kalaiselvi works as a daily labourer, earning less than $ 2 a day, since her husband passed away. She often has to miss four to five days of work in a month due to opportunistic infections and visit to the health centre. Travelling to the ART centre in Krishnagiri, located 50 km from her house in Opparapattii, is a monthly ordeal for Sunitha and her mother. It takes over two hours to reach the ART Centre. From their village they trudge 4 km to reach the bus stop. The return bus fare for both of them costs around $ 2. Infrequent bus service and long queue at the centre consumes their whole day. As a result, her mother loses a days wages. UNICEF is currently rolling out a telemedicine initiative, which will ensure quality services are made available to families living with HIV at the district level in the state. This will ease not only the travel issues but also the time and the loss of wages for people like Sunithas mother.
Sunitha, now 12 years, supports her mother with household chores. She fetches water from the community water supply point located 800 metres from her thatched house.
Sunitha, after coming back from school, grinds rice to prepare their staple food idli (steam rice pancake).
Stigma associated with HIV has left Sunitha with no friends. She spends her free time playing with hens in the backyard and waits for her mothers return from work.
Sunitha goes to school everyday after completing her household chores. Excepting the day she visits the health centre, she is always present in the school. Though she has a long path to trudge, she feels her indomitable will to be a teacher will be realised one day.