In 2007, Antionette was diagnosed HIV positive. It was a very emotionally challenging time for her. Fortunately on her journey, she met Rose Mekinda (peer counselor) at the Ebolowa District Hospital. Rose became a huge source of strength & advice for Antionette, and encouraged her to adhere to the PMTCT (Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission) process whilst pregnant. When Prisca was born, she was tested for the virus at 6 weeks – but unfortunately the results had to be sent away for diagnosis, and it took almost nine months for her to receive the final results. This was a very emotionally exhausting time for Antionette, and she was very reticent to test the children that followed – for fear of going through the same emotional roller coaster. Fortunately in December 2016, the system changed and UNICEF helped implement the new EID (Early Infant Diagnosis) device so that patients now receive same day testing, same day results and same day medication. This has been a life-changing intervention for mothers and babies – especially in ensuring the earliest possible detection of HIV in new-borns.
When Antoinette gave birth to her twins Emmanuel and Natasha she received their test results on the same day. They were negative.
“When I arrived at the hospital, they tested the child and after an hour we had the results! I was so happy that it had gone so quickly. I didn’t need to go home and wait. The results were negative! I am grateful to the promoters of this innovation. They may not realize how good it is for mothers.” – Antoinette