‘Born-free’ generation testifies of Zim’s success in fight against Aids
UNTIL the 1990s, the spread of HIV in Zimbabwe was regarded as a grave threat hanging over the lives of both infected mothers and their unborn babies whose chances of survival were almost non-existent.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
For nearly a decade, a macabre harvest of the lives of newly–born babies was witnessed, with some HIV-positive mothers opting for Caesarean section (C-section) operations to reduce the risk of their babies being infected during birth.
C-section, however, came with its own challenges as survival of either the mother or the child was not guaranteed.
But the introduction of the prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) regime in the country brought a new lease of life to newborns that made it possible for babies born to HIV-positive mothers to enjoy life free from the virus.
Its success has given rise to a whole new meaning to another “born-free generation”; a generation of children born to HIV-positive mothers free of the Aids virus.
Samantha Chibuwe (36) of Kuwadzana, Harare, is one such beneficiary of the “miraculous” programme. All her three children, including the one born last year after she had tested HIV-positive, are negative.
“My baby is a miracle,” she said in an interview. “When I discovered that I was HIV-positive while pregnant, I felt disappointed that my baby would not survive for long.”