Rispah: A new chance on life

 

In Kenya, one small push in the right direction can be the difference between life and death. When Rispah came through the doors of the hospital we fund, she couldn’t walk. She was 26 years old, 5’3” and weighed less than 90 pounds. She was infected with HIV/AIDS…and she was five months pregnant with her first baby. 

Rispah had been sick for two years but had avoided medical treatment because of the stigma associated with the disease. She finally agreed to visit Matibabu Women and Children’s Hospital because she was worried about her baby. 

Over the next week, Rispah was given antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of the disease. She eventually stabilized and, four months later, returned to our hospital and delivered a healthy baby boy. One year later, she was hired by Matibabu Hospital as the head receptionist and is now fully supporting her family. Rispah’s story might sound too good to be true – but in Kenya, so much is possible with so little.   

The bad news…Kenya has the fourth largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world and women continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease. In Siaya County, where our work is focused, approximately 1 in 4 women have HIV/AIDS, making it the third most severely affected of the 47 counties in Kenya. 

The good news…By providing inexpensive treatments, our doctors are saving lives, one mom and baby at a time. When we started, more than 40% of the local population tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Since then, we’ve helped reduce the HIV/AIDS rate in this region by more than half. We work with locals to implement their own ideas, while providing funding and teaching them new and best practices through our medical volunteer program.