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Kehumile Baganne is Nata Clinic's Lay Counselor

Posted Dec 02 2008 3:07am

Kehumile Baganne is Nata Clinic's Lay Counselor
Originally uploaded by natavillage.

Kehumile Baganne has been the PMTCT lay counselor at Nata Clinic for 4

years. Kehumile has been a part of the program since its inception. Kehumile

received training in pre and post test counseling for HIV/AIDS. When she

first started, there was no rapid test available. Patients had to wait for

their results while blood was sent to the lab. Kehumile was trained in July

2004 to administer the HIV rapid test. I asked her a few questions about

her work in Nata. Here is Kehumile's story.

When I first started working at the clinic, few people came into test. I

would only test four people per month. People were afraid in those days and

the only ARV's were in Francistown and Gaborone. We weren't even able to

offer IPT (prophylaxis for TB) in those days so some of the people here

could not access those services. So when IPT came to Nata and the ARV's

came to Gweta, people were more willing to test. I do my counseling in a

caravan and when we first started everyone was afraid to come to the

caravan. Because when someone goes there, they know they have AIDS. They

even called me the caravan girl. I didn't like that name at all. But over

time, people changed. Now they just line up for the formula and they'll

line up at the caravan and share their stories there. I also monitor all

the pregnant women and ensure they test for HIV so we can enroll them in the

prevention of mother to child transmission program. I encourage positive

mothers to use formula to prevent the transmission of AIDS through the

breast milk. I enjoy my job but it's very hard work and there is an

emotional toll. But it's been encouraging to see the changes here in Nata.

I'm now testing up to 70 people per month. That's a big difference and it's

saving lives.

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