Swaziland's HIV/AIDS Task Force signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program of Swaziland wherein they have agreed to work hand in hand at fighting the scourge of TB. Currently Swaziland has the highest rate of TB in the world with at least 12% (WHO Global Report, 2008) of the nation's people being infected. This is complicated by the high incidence of HIV/AIDS. It is currently estimated that one in four adults is diagnosed HIV positive (UNGASS).
A Member of the Swaziland Parliament attended a regular monthly meeting held for the caregivers of the AIDS Task Force and the Department of Health.
Later, during a conversation, one of the caregivers expressed her concern to him at the overwhelming needs of patients in a certain area of the country, which she has to deal with every day. These needs include hopelessness, the heartache and pain of the extremely ill and dying, all exacerbated by the basis need for food. As a result, he tried to address these needs by soliciting money from donors after doing a mini-survey to find out exactly what the people needed.
He then organised food parcels for these patients, consisting of maize meal, beans, cooking oil, soups, e-pap (a nutritious food for those with diarrhea) and other supplies, which he delivered himself.
This generous gesture has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the patients in this area. They are extremely grateful for what was done for them, especially as it came as a result of one of their own countrymen reaching out to them in their time of need.
by Betty van den Berg