In the late 1990âs, and at the height of the Aids epidemic, Zimbabwe was one of the countries worst hit. At its peak in 2000, over 30 percent of the population was HIV positive, many without access to even basic treatment. Mdecins sans FrontiËres (MSF) successfully launched HIV programs in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC). Today, the number of people who are HIV positive in 'Zimbabwe has been reduced to 15 percent.'Epworth Clinic, lies on the outskirts of Harare. In 2006 a HIV program was set up there, born out of the discovery that in the settlement of Epworth a high percentage of people were affected with HIV.'Epworth settlement was founded in 2005, during the Harare City clean-up operation. Thousands of people were relocated from informal settlements in the city. Around 20, 000 resettled in Epworth, a former farm, on Harareâs outskirts. In that same year, due to the growing needs in the area, MSF started providing primary health care in the settlement, together with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC).'Today, although the number of people who are HIV positive in Zimbabwe has dropped to 15 per cent, major gaps in treatment remain. Common causes include a lack of medical staff; the high cost of treatment and the long distances people must travel to reach medical care. These are challenges that community programs, like the one at Epworth Clinic, seek to address.''Florence and Tanya'Florence is 40 years old and is one of the first HIV patient from the Epworth Clinic HIV program. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2005. She was tested for HIV after falling ill when she was pregnant with her third child. âIt was MSF who encouraged me to get tested and helped me with getting ARV (HIV) treatmentâ'She does not only take care of her own children but she also takes care of a ten year old girl called Tanya, who is physically disabled and HIV positive. Tanya, her brother and father Life, live next door. Tanyaâs mother Elizabeth and Florence were friends and were in the first group of patients from the Epworth HIV program, starting treatment on the same day. She used to walk to the Epworth HIV group together with her friend carrying Tanya. Florence always supported her friend and looked after her when she fell ill. When she passed away in 2010 Florence took on the care of Tanya who is a lively young girl. Tanya is ten years old and is unable to walk. She was diagnosed with HIV when she was just a few months old. Despite the challenges Tanya faced so far, the bubbly young girl, who has never been to school. ''Florence â Tanya, her brother and her father, live next door to me. Her mother and I'were friends and we used to go to the Epworth HIV group together - we are'part of the same group of MSFâs first patients from Epworth and started'treatment at the Clinic on the same day. I supported her when she fell ill.'When she died, I started looking after Tanya too. She needs help as she'doesnât walk and is in a wheelchairâ.
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