TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN writes about how robust medical interventions offered fresh hope to HIV positive parents in Bauchi State helping them to give birth to HIV negative babies
Thirty- six – year – old Zainab has nursed a secret pain for 15 years caused by the loss of a child . The pain was compounded by the collapse of her first marriage.
Since then, the soft- spoken woman had given marriage a wide berth . But her fears crumbled like a pack of cards when cupid shot its arrow.
Zainab told our correspondent that she met her husband through a friend during a visit to a hospital to get drugs .
She said after the meeting, they got talking and she later discovered that he was also HIV positive . According to her, they courted for some time and got married in 2013 .
The woman said she never thought hope could come her way after her first marriage experience. She stated , “ I discovered that I was positive several years ago . I first got married in 2005 before my husband and the child I had died.
“ It was during my ex- husband’ s last days on earth that I found out I was also HIV positive . He was sick for a long time and admitted at a teaching hospital and it was there that the tests were conducted. The sickness affected him such that it became a psychiatric problem. It was at the time that it was discovered that he was positive and placed on drugs .
“ Then , the drugs were usually brought from Gombe State. Later on , he was asked to come with his wife to also conducted test on her. That was when it was discovered that I was also positive . I was placed on cotrimoxazole for about three years .
“ I didn ’ t know that I can fall in love again . I was happy when love found me again and especially after the birth of my son , Murtala . I have a new hope , ’’ she told our correspondent as she adjusted the short , black veil caressing her happy face .
Zainab ’s baby is HIV negative. Seven- month – old Murtala looked beautiful and healthy in his brown shirt and short as he smiled at our correspondent , struggling to leave her mother ’ s arms .
Zainab said her son has never shown any strange illness since birth , only some teething- related issues peculiar to children of his age.
She said , “ When I got pregnant , I decided to take a step further to confirm that I was pregnant . I went for a scan which confirmed I was pregnant . For me , it was a mixed feeling because I was excited that I was pregnant . At the same time , I was scared because of my status . I approached the HIV/ AIDS control department of the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis , Leprosy and Malaria and I was advised to register for antenatal immediately.
“ When I went to the health facility , I registered and was told to return two months after . The doctors told me that they will fix me in a team . During antenatal classes, I told the doctors that the last time I gave birth was 15 years ago and they predicted that I would give birth through caesarean section but I refused . I told them that the only reason I would accept was if there was a complication . ”