By Koren Wetmore |
Mothers carry emaciated children, many unconscious or in comas, through the doors of the Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. Bones jut starkly from their small, brown frames, their bodies ravaged by malnutrition—not because they lack food or loving parents, but because HIV/AIDS has hindered their bodies’ ability to metabolize nutrients.
Those same children, within months of receiving anti-retroviral therapy at the clinic, transform into happy, plump, healthy kids.
“They call it the Lazarus Effect, because it’s like they come back from the dead. It was amazing to see, and it had a huge impact on me,” says Peter Navario, executive director of HealthRight International, who witnessed the phenomenon in 2003 while working for the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gaborone, Botswana. Before the clinic was built, children living with HIV in Botswana had no access to lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy.
“You can’t just have medicines; you also need infrastructure, trained health workers, reliable supply chains, supportive policies and engaged communities,” Navario says…
Published in Acumen