Fighting Aids and giving new hope
There are more than 1.3 million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, most of them with only inadequate access to healthcare. At Newlands Clinic in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, the Ruedi Lüthy Foundation provides care for 7000 patients from the poorest backgrounds.
1/6: Sister Moreni talks with a young patient. Our goal is to support our patients, and to enable them to live their lives as independently as possible.
2/6: Blood tests are a key element of HIV treatment for monitoring the effectiveness of the therapy. Newlands Clinic has a well-equipped lab, which also carries out tests for other clinics.
3/6: After their check-up with their nurse, the patients can collect their medication directly from the Newlands Clinic pharmacy.
4/6: Patients who need nutritional support also receive basic foodstuffs directly at the clinic. Owing to the current food crisis, hundreds of families are receiving support.
5/6: Newlands Clinic offers adolescents a place where they can meet and share their experiences. Group sessions and workshops also cover issues such as therapy adherence, depression and sexuality.
6/6: The next patients are waiting for their appointment. The waiting room at the clinic entrance is always busy.
(Photos: Patrick Rohr, Pia Zanetti)
Of the 38 million people with HIV worldwide, more than 50% live in southern and eastern Africa. Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the region, and 13 % of people aged 15-49 years are HIV positive. Half a million children have already been orphaned, and 20,000 people are still dying from Aids every year. The need is great. We focus on women, children and young people, and on people who perform a key role in their communities such as teachers and nurses.
Comprehensive treatment and support
The patients come to the clinic for an examination every one to three months. Our specially trained nurses know their medical histories and their circumstances exactly. They carry out most of the work themselves, supported by doctors where needed. The life-long therapy is closely monitored to identify treatment failure at an early stage and take appropriate action.
Our patients live in the most difficult of circumstances: they have no work, suffer from hunger, and have lost family and relatives. Adhering strictly to the HIV treatment in such situations is a major challenge. We therefore provide supplementary assistance in the form of nutritional support, self-help groups for young people, and a vocational training programme, for example. After all, it is only when our patients see prospects for their future that they will be able to take control of their lives again.
HIV Medication in Zimbabwe
Not all HIV medicines are available in Zimbabwe, and it is therefore all the more important that the patients adhere strictly to the treatment in order to prevent resistance developing. In 2020, 67 % of our patients were on the standard 1st line regimen, with 30 % on 2nd line and 3 % receiving 3rd line treatment.