By Delphine FRI
Harrietta lives in Ndobbo – Bonaberi one of the main quarters that makes up the cosmopolitan city of Douala. This 22 year old mother of two knew of her HIV status when she visited the Ante Natal Clinic during her first pregnancy. The news of her HIV positive status came in as a blow to her faced, yet she took the challenge to follow up medical directives to the latter for the sake of her unborn baby.
While Harrieta was still learning to adapt to this new lifestyle, she started having some strange symptoms barely two months after birth. She had morning fever, nausea, and felt very lazy and weak. She had linked this symptoms to the ARVs drugs she had been taking for a while now. Harrieta had similar symptoms when she was first placed on treatment. She had suffered from nightmares and dizziness for some weeks. Without checking with the doctor, she concluded that the symptoms were repeating themselves in another way.
As the symptoms persisted, Harrietta’s husband encouraged her to consult a physician. It was during this process that she had the blasting discovery of her life. Harrietta was six weeks pregnant. Unlike the first pregnancy that brought joy to her family, Harrietta had cried her lungs out.
“I had a thousand and one questions on my mind and the idea of committing an abortion lingered on my mind any time I thought of my predicaments” Harrietta confessed.
Though the couple chose to keep the pregnancy, they admitted it was not an easy task in ensuring that Harrietta and the baby stay healthy through the pregnancy. “Taking care of the two babies became another daunting task for the family.”
With the introduction of Family planning in the Care & treatment departments in some health facilities in the Litorral Region of Cameroon, over 7,000 women of child bearing age like harrietta have benefited from such services. Such services helps women not only to know the different techniques of birth control, but to also help them to intentionally decide when to have a child while ensuring that they are healthy enough to do so.