(Locator: Vellore, India)
24-year-old Rama is 34-weeks pregnant and HIV positive. Medications may
help stop the spread of the disease to her baby, but Rama is not likely
to live past the child’s 7th birthday.
She is among a growing number of HIV positive mothers under the care of
the United Methodist-supported Christian Medical Center in Vellore, India. Here, a diagnosis is
often a death sentence for the entire family. When husbands die first,
there is no one left to provide for young mothers or their children. And
medical care is only for those who can afford to pay.
Jessie Lionel / Physician, Christian Medical Center: “They’re afraid,
when will I die? Will I die like my husband? Will I suffer? What will
happen to my children?”
With no government aid, the staff members tithe their own money. And
have created programs like this snack vending operation to provide HIV
mothers with jobs and a small income.
Jessie Lionel / Physician: “We have been giving them very minimal
subsidy for herself to eat and for the baby to have milk.”
Many of these doctors are mothers themselves. They can provide for
patients’ most basic needs, but feel these mothers and sick children
Jessie Lionel / Physician: “To be able to have a hospice where these
women and their positive children when they are sick to be able to come
and die with dignity and peace.”
Second only to Africa, the AIDS problem in India is growing and staff
members can’t possibly support every young mother. But they are doing
what they can to give comfort, if nothing else.
Jessie Lionel /Physician: “I think we need to give hope, we need to
care, and we have to say that we do have concern and sympathy and
compassion for them.”
For more information, go to:
Or you can contact the United Methodist Committee On Relief by logging
www.gbgm-umc.org or calling toll free: 1-800-554-8583.