Sara Jamson Kilipamwambo is a Woman Living with HIV and a mother of two. Both her children are HIV negative. Sara was enrolled at Mtwango Health Center CTC in March 2017 and she had good ART adherence record before she stopped attending CTC on 4th December 2020. Her next CTC Visit was scheduled on 3rd January 2020 but she was not seen from then.
Marium Kaduma who is a Treatment Advocate (TA) from Mtwango ward in Njombe District Council (DC), started tracking Sara to find out why she was absent from ART at CTC and to bring her back to services. Sara was found at her residence in Lunguya Village and the first reason she presented was being tired of taking the pills.
“I am sick and tired of taking the pills every single day until the day I leave the world” she said, and was not convinced by Marium’s advise as she tried to make her understand the importance of ART.
After three trials with the denial from Sara, Marium (TA) had to consult her fellow TA from Mtwango Mr. Amon Mkula as well as the Njombe DC cluster secretary Mr. Gehaz Mhada in an effort to convince her.
This time Sara had to be precise about the real reasons she stopped accessing ART services at Mtwango health center and she added another reason apart from her tiredness to taking pills that, she was quoted saying
“I am now saved by Jesus and I believe that all the testing results about my health, were wrong. Jesus is my saviour and I will pray for you too to follow Jesus and stop ART”.
After talking to her, they found out that, she worships at Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) in her village and started to look for the pastor of the church in order to talk to him about the misconception to HIV services, but the approach was not successful.
The three (2 TAs and cluster secretary) continued to followup and convince Sara to get back to ART but she started to avoid them when they came to her home. This continued for a couple of months until November 2020 when her health worsened and her neighbors (without knowing she was HIV positive), contacted the TAs (they believed TAs can help to rescue the situation).
Sara accepted to be taken back to Mtwango CTC on 9th March 2021 and was re-enrolled to ART and she is now utilizing the services as she started back in 2017. Sara thanks all the TAs and people who helped to rescue her from death,
“I really thank you all from rescuing me from death, I took the wrong direction believing that, through prayers, my sickness will disappear, I promise to continue being a good adherer to ART and also to be the teacher to others so that they will follow the right direction”. Says Sara
It is important for PLHIVs to understand the role ART adherence for better health conditions. We all have our faith beliefs but it is not recommended to depend on prayers to heal HIV, instead, we continue adhering to ART and praying.