I am a care worker

I am a care worker

Date: June 30, 2010
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I am a care worker who has been involved with the Know Your Status Campaign and part of my work is to encourage people to test for HIV. I register people that come to the workshops. I work with three male care workers. Within the workshops and sessions had I noted that one of the participants was not feeling good and her health deteriorated very fast and I decide that I would speak to her? I then took it upon myself to go and ask her to come to our last meeting and she had not pitched on the last day of the workshop. A neighbour informed that she had decided to go to a Health Center that morning.

When the news of her sudden death came later in the day it was shocking and I wondered what had happened. Her body was found in a sewer close to the city council buildings. She killed herself because she felt as though she could not speak to us. I vow to make this the last incident and make sure that there will always be someone who tells them that it will be alright.

I am a care worker and the readiness to test for HIV is a life changing moment people. I always emphasise readiness to test for HIV and hold campaigns and make follow-up visits and community referrals through the hospitals. The task and roles that care workers have taken is to inform on the knowledge about HIV and AIDS, counseling before and after testing. I am living positively and I was not quite ready when I first tested. The Support group I belong to was helpful and encouraging and now I can hold someone’s hand and assist them and give them strength to stand up knowing their status.

I take my medication and encourage others in my shoes to do the same. We encourage men in the group to be responsible and provide for our families. It is important that men be involved in the care giving responsibilities so that we can shift the burden of care from women who have so long been doing the work. We have income generating projects with the support group, rearing pigs, chickens and vegetable gardens. We help each other out and we do work for other groups in the area that care for HIV positive people from Thetsane, Hlalele to Phuthiatsana River.
Support and counseling is very important and as care workers we need counselling too. In the case of a colleague that lost her life- we are sad and yet feel that we could have done something to help her if we had proper training to understand the symptoms of depression and burn out. The message is people should be counseled including us the care workers. We need professional counseling as every day we are engaged in dealing with people who need professional help.

I am a care worker, I need support to get materials like bandages, medication and food to the people we can for. I need transport to get to the person in need on time and take them to a hospital. I can not work alone with only the human resources that continue to be supportive. I need my government to play an important role and make sure that we are recognized and supported in our efforts to make our communities better. I do not only be a band aid solution to the health system, I would like to be trained as well and be a professional in my work.
Education is important in raising awareness with children and youth. Our support group focuses on issues of unprotected sex as a prevention measure for youth. We do not want our children growing up in a state were they do not understand what HIV and AIDS is and the dangers of unprotected sex. We really want to eradicate the mentality that having sex is a form of fun and let them now that sex is beautiful to be shared with the one you love, when you are ready and you know your status and be safe always. I would like to see the youth being involved in the sharing of responsibilities of care giving and encourage young men to take a stand in Lesotho.

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