CALLING ALL GOOD SAMARITANS

Paralyzed: BOPHELO GABAEME

Bedridden stroke survivor seeks help for operation restore dignity

A woman who was left paralyzed from her waist down after suffering a stroke has pleaded with members of the public to assist her restore her dignity.

Bophelo Gabaeme, 42,decided to make the plea after she got fed up of living in unhygienic conditions with no toilet   and no running water.

Gabaeme suffered the massive stroke that left her bedridden in 2007. Ever since she has endured the humiliation of living in unhygienic conditions whereby she often sleeps in soiled sheets because she can not be lifted to the neighbours to ask for the use of their toilet and  neither does she have water for her care givers to wash the sheets.

“Although I am on home-based care, I have all my five senses and it is disgusting and humiliating for me to eat in a stuffy room like this one,” Gabaeme explained.

The woman who was diagnosed with HIV and put on Antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) in 2007 following the  stroke attack lives in a dusty room with just one  small window.

“I depend on my children and other caregivers to help me clean up and fetching water from the standpipe is a taxing job for them. They are doing all they can to help me and I am grateful for that. I do not wish to be a burden to them. I should be taking care of my children and they should be in school instead, learning like other children but they are caring for me,” Gabaeme lamented further.

On the day The Voice team visited her, the woman was under the care of her 17-year–old daughter who dropped out of school last year to look after her ailing mom

“It pains me to look at her suffer in this way. But if there was water, I could wash her bed linen often and again I think if we had a toilet of our own, she would be spared the humiliation of having other people attend to her bathroom needs. We could lift her onto the toilet seat for her o help herself,” explained the daughter.

The hopeful girl said she was looking forward to going back to school once her mother has recovered.

“People told us that HIV kills and that once the patient is bedridden it means they have fully blown AIDS. But I have since researched on the topic and have discovered that it was not true. She is bedridden but because she is taking ARVs she can stay alive for many more years,” the girl added.

The caring daughter said she would be grateful if her mother got a new mattress to make her life a bit more comfortable.

“Currently she sleeps on an old mattress which I believe is causing her terrible discomfort.” The girl highlighted.

Meanwhile the woman’s plea comes on the backdrop of a National AIDS coordinating Agency (NACA) national campaign in partnership with UNICEF to give young people aged between 10 and 24 years accurate information about HIV and AIDS.

The campaign dubbed “Wise up” guides young people on how HIV is transmitted, how it is not transmitted and how they can protect themselves from infection.

Currently the HIV/AIDS estimated infections stand at over 300 000 Batswana. According to the latest NACA reports, the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in December 2009 was 316,363  179,151) and  (57% of those were female while 137,212 (43%) were male.

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