Back to Care: Stories from Ghana
June 12th, 2023 | Story
June 12th, 2023 | Story
Health care provider administering HIV health services during community outreach activities in Ghana. Credit: JSI
The USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum project and its partners provide care for more than 36,000 people across Ghana in the Ahafo, Western, and Western North Regions. The project is actively promoting the Undetectable=Untransmissible campaign to ensure that people who are living with HIV and receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) achieve viral suppression.
The Care Continuum project, which started in March 2016, launched a second phase in October 2019 and brought more than 10,000 people who had interrupted their ART treatment back to care. In the Western Region, the project has almost tripled the number of clients on ART from just over 6,500 in September 2019 to nearly 20,000 in December 2022.
Five Ghanaians shared their experiences and showcase the importance of community outreach in ensuring adherence to HIV treatment.
Gifty’s family and community rejected her when she fell ill, even when she lost her hearing. People called her a witch. One day, Gifty met a care worker from MIHOSO International, a subgrantee of the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum, learned that she was HIV-positive, and was brought back to care.
Abena’s health declined over 20 years before she received an HIV diagnosis. A community HIV screening led by the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum project resulted in discovering the source of her illness and a way forward with treatment. Now 71, she lives a healthier life.
Joy quit her HIV treatment after experiencing complications. She didn’t visit a health facility, even as her health deteriorated for years. One day, she received a call from a care worker with Hope for Future Generations, a subgrantee of the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum project.
Narda experienced dizziness while on HIV treatment and stopped taking his medication, even though he saw his diagnosis as a barrier to having a family. Thanks to the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum project, Narda now knows that adhering to medication can lead to viral suppression.
Suzy adhered to her HIV treatment until she started experiencing stigma and discrimination. She stopped treatment and eventually suffered from partial paralysis and loss of speech. One day, a Model of Hope peer educator reached out to her to encourage her to restart treatment.