Delivering HIV/AIDS Services to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Fati’s Story
Fati Mohammed, a 45-year-old widow and mother of three children tested HIV positive in October 2014 at Dikwa General Hospital (GH), a health facility providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS services in Dikwa, Borno State. Through the support of the USAID funded and FHI 360 led Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project, Fati was immediately enrolled into the antiretroviral treatment (ART) program in the facility. She was committed to adhering to the treatment regimen and improving her health, especially considering the fact that she witnessed her husband, who was also HIV positive, die from complications arising from AIDS.
In March 2015, not long after Fati commenced ART, insurgents attacked and overran Dikwa town, forcing the residents to flee for safety, resulting in the shutdown of all activities in the town including hospital services. Fati was one of the few people who managed to escape to the city of Maiduguri, located about 56km away from Dikwa for safety. Prior to the attacks, her health was gradually improving because of her strict adherence to the ART regimen in Dikwa GH. With her displacement after the insurgents’ attack, Fati not only lost access to the vital ART medication, but her wellbeing and that of her dependents was also threatened.
Fati took shelter in Sanda Kyarimi internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, where she struggled to cope with the new environment. As a result of her inability to reestablish her regular life pattern, particularly her ART medication, Fati’s health began to deteriorate. She grew hopeless and desperate to regain her strength and health in order to better care for her children. Unknown to her, providence had better plans for her wellbeing and Fati’s path was about to intersect once again with that of the SIDHAS project.
In early October 2015, Fati along with other residents of Sanda Kyarimi IDP camp were informed by the volunteer community mobilizers working in the camp that ART services had begun for IDPs through mobile on-site ART clinics established under the SIDHAS project. Fati excitedly visited the clinic and went through clinical screening for proper evaluation before she was recommenced on ART at the mobile clinic.
In the six months following her recommencement of ART, Fati attests to being healthier and stronger. In her own words and filled with exhilaration on her renewed lease on life, she had this to say…. “Praise be to Allah, I am much healthier now and I am grateful to the SIDHAS project for bringing help to me and others in the camp. May God bless FHI 360.”
With support from USAID, the SIDHAS project provides lifesaving HIV/AIDS services including HIV testing services (HTS), ART and tuberculosis directly observed treatment, short course (TB-DOTs) services to IDPs in 15 camps in Borno State. To date, over 8,800 IDPs have been tested for HIV and 302 HIV positive IDPs enrolled into the ART program.