HIV – there is now action because there is knowledge

The district hospital doctors were worried about this child, a 10-month old girl with a serious respiratory infection.  They were treating her for pneumonia as well as for TB, but every day her breathing continued to worsen.  She was tiny for her age, but despite receiving extra nutrition she did not gain any weight.  Eventually […]

Proud Dr Eleanor – our HIV mentor

Ano waves a smiling young man out of the door.  “Pasiente numeru 97, doutora!” he tells me, with a big grin. Here in our HIV clinic in Dili, Ano is our chief counsellor and phlebotomist combined.  He is jubilant, since this patient was diagnosed with HIV some years previously, but had become ‘lost to follow […]

Making HIV patients feel safe and valued: Beatriz’s story

The first time Beatriz* started taking treatment for HIV was around a year ago. She stopped taking it after just two days. In Timor Leste, the anti-viral tablet we usually prescribe for HIV frequently causes nausea, nightmares and dizziness. A year ago, Beatriz had no idea what her side effects meant. Crucially, nobody told her […]

Improving maternal HIV screening

Procession of the pink plastic table to its new home in the antenatal clinic. You might think that this is a cheap plastic table with some laminated cards tied on with pieces of string. You wouldn’t be wrong about that. What might not be obvious to a casual observer is that this fluorescent pink creation […]

A Maluk approach to starting a HIV program

The team: Madalena, Nina, Eleanor, Dircia, Alfredo, Ano and Odilia. Sitting on the floor of Office World surrounded by stationery, I am overcome with doubt. Dircia and I have been here for the last half hour, and I am now certain that the wrong choice of file divider will mean the ruination of our HIV […]

Heavy rain doesn’t dampen spirits at the HIV clinic

Our HIV clinic was flooded last week. One learns to expect rain in the rainy season, but the downpour on the weekend saw much of Dili under water. By the time I had sloshed my way into work on Monday, my ultra-efficient team had already dispatched most of the mud. We were open for business […]