HIV+ girl not getting regular medicine -mother
Stabroek News
February 12, 2003

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The mother of the five-year-old child, who was possibly infected with HIV by a blood transfusion, is unhappy with the way her daughter is being treated by the Ministry of Health and says the child went one month without treatment.

A frustrated Shondell Darrell, mother of Jasione visited Stabroek News last week and said she had received medication for the child in November and when she returned on December 30 there was no medication available.

She returned early in January but was greeted with the same news and it was only after she published her plight in another newspaper that a doctor called to tell her that one set of the medication had arrived but he did not know when the other set would come in. Stabroek News contacted the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Doerga Persaud, who referred this newspaper to Dr Navindra Persaud who he said was handling matters that pertained to the child.

Dr Persaud told this newspaper that Jasione had received her medication earlier this month but could not give a date. Asked if there was a lapse in the administering of the medicine, Persaud replied that he was not sure but he would "double check with the clinic."

Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy acknowledged that the child did not receive any medication for the month of January. He had said that there was a problem with the medication arriving in the country.

Little Jasione's condition was brought to her mother's attention about a year ago when she became ill and was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital and tested positive for HIV.

Since her mother has tested negative the child was believed to have contracted the disease through a blood transfusion at her birth.

The ministry said that while the donor of the blood had since died he was not infected with HIV. But the minister had pledged that the ministry would take full responsibility for the child and see that she received free medication. Help was also promised with the child's diet.

Jasione's mother last week pointed out that she could not work because she has to stay home to look after the child. She is a single parent as the child's father died in a hit and run accident in 1999.

"As a single parent I am getting no help from anyone. If I had money I would have sent for the medication." She disclosed that her daughter had begun to display symptoms of the disease.

The distraught mother said that her daughter had begged her to attend school and when she went to pick her up she found her in a bed with "a roasting fever and was complaining of headaches." The teacher told her not to let her attend school until she was better.

On top of her worries last December her landlady upon finding out that her child was HIV positive said she had to leave. She was forced to find another home but said because she was not working and had bills to pay she found life very difficult.

"I need the government to do something serious about this matter. I have gotten some assistance from the Linden Care Foundation and Lifeline Counselling....."

The woman also said she was not receiving the food vouchers promised to assist with a proper diet. Dr Persaud refuted the woman's claims saying she had been receiving the vouchers. The mother could only say, "I do not think my child will live to see her sixth birthday because she will be getting more and more sick because no medication is there. Why are they not taking my child serious? I want my child to live and see her teenage years..."

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