On 25 August 2011, Dinao was admitted to the General Medical Ward B1 at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with severe sepsis and dermatitis. Ella is a young, unemployed mother and relies on her family to support her in raising her baby, and now found herself putting her faith in the specialist doctors at the Hospital.
Dinao was also not growing and very weak. Ella spent weeks sleeping in a chair next to Dinao’s bedside, without access to adequate facilities, while she waited for doctors to diagnose her baby. Blood tests revealed that both Dinao and Ella were in fact HIV positive – a shock to Ella who had never had an HIV test and never suspected the possibility of contracting it.
During her time spent at the Hospital, she attended a support group for HIV/AIDS mothers at the Hospital’s Family Resource Centre. This Centre is managed by the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (FOCHA), and helped Ella accept her status and gave her the courage to tell her family. Both mother and baby were started on Antiretrovirals (ARV’S) on 08 September.
There was an immediate improvement in Dinao’s health and she was sent home on 23 September. Dinao will have to visit the Hospital regularly and will need to use ARV’s for the rest of her life but has already started picking up weight and is livelier than before. Ella tells us that she has been treated well at the Hospital and is grateful for the treatment from caring doctors and nursing staff for her baby.