Tuesday, 3 May 2022
SIM is a global community that comprises of interdenominational, multi-ethnic and multi-skilled teams who are witnesses of God’s love in communities around the world. The diversity of SIM’s ministries enables us to care for the distinctive needs in the places our workers are serving. One ministry that outworks this focus is SIM’s Hope for Life (HFL) Fund.
Around the world there are 38 million people currently living with HIV¹. SIM’s HFL Fund supports projects that are helping orphans, vulnerable children and adults impacted by HIV and AIDS in over 14 countries.
In Benin, people living with HIV are among the poorest of the population and often face stigmatisation by their community. SIMaid’s Hope for Life Benin aims to provide holistic care to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and their families in order to improve their living conditions, provide education around HIV and AIDS related issues within their community and demonstrate the love of God.
The project in Benin runs a full-time clinic attached to a local hospital, a part-time clinic and two monthly mobile clinics. Together, these clinics provide medical treatment for PLHIV, testing on request and voluntary counselling. As well as offering children and adult support groups for PLHIV, the team also seeks to journey with people who have tested positive by conducting home visits.
With a desire to empower patients to meet their own needs and to have true hope despite their circumstances, the support groups meet monthly to learn about HIV related topics and participate in income-generating activities. The income generating activities include preserving tomatoes and making chicken feed, enriched flour for porridge, muscle rub and soap. Food packages, school supplies and assistance with school fees are also provided to patients if needed. During their time together, the team will also share an encouragement from a devotional.
Nestor* arrived at the HFL Benin clinic after testing positive for HIV. Although he appeared to be in a stable condition, his lab results revealed other health problems. He started his Antiretroviral Therapy (the treatment for HIV) and enjoyed talking with one of the team members, Pascal.
The team at the clinic were surprised when Nestor missed his next appointment. They tried to contact him by phone multiple times but there was no answer. One month later, Nestor answered Pascal’s call and told him that he was very ill. Nestor gave Pascal instructions on how to find him and explained that he had been too weak to pick up his phone until recently.
Nestor had no family or friends who were willing to care for him when his health deteriorated. His landlord had gone to the police to say that his tenant was dying and needed help, however, he received no assistance. Thankfully, the landlord continued to try to feed and care for Nestor. When members of the HFL Benin team arrived, the landlord was relieved that others would assist him in caring for Nestor. The landlord admitted he had trouble sleeping at night because he was worried about Nestor’s situation. He had rented Nestor a small room with no door next to a construction site. There was a stranger outside, hovering near the door because he was waiting for Nestor to die so that he could take his possessions. The landlord repeatedly tried to chase the man away but he refused to leave.
Nestor had numerous infections in his right leg that had become septic. Moving his leg even slightly caused him extreme pain. After giving Nestor pain killers and wrapping the infections with pads, the team quickly arranged for him to be driven to a local hospital. One of the HFL Benin volunteers cared for Nestor for nearly two months in the hospital. She brought him his meals, helped with his basic needs and went to the pharmacy to pick up his medication. She demonstrated great compassion to Nestor despite the fact that she was in the middle of harvesting her crops.
After Nestor’s condition improved and the clinic staff made crutches for him, he was discharged from the hospital. With the help of clinic staff, he now receives dressing changes every 2-4 days. With a desire to show God’s love, Pascal frequently visits Nestor to care for him and support him. Nestor is eager to learn more about why Pascal is motivated to care for others so well and is thankful for the visits. He has begun to bear slightly more weight on his affected leg and the wounds are slowly improving. He is starting to gain back the 10kg he lost since the infections began.
It is not often that the HFL Benin team have a patient completely dependent on them for many months with no money or help from friends or family. The team shared that it was encouraging to see many people work together to help Nestor get back on his feet and recover.
*Name changed to protect identity
Help more people living with HIV in Africa and Asia access holistic medical care! Your tax-deductible gift to Hope For Life (09330) can help change lives. You can give at sim.org.au/hopeforlife
Could you use your medical skills to demonstrate the love of Christ to communities in need of medical care? Many opportunities exist for you to use your skills on the field. Start a conversation with a SIM Mission Mobiliser today at sim.org.au/enquire
¹ www.hiv.gov, 2021
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.