In March Bongolo Hospital’s HIV/AIDS program finally officially opened! We received the authorization and the access code from the Ministry of Health which allows us to obtain the antiviral medicines. It had been very frustrating to have many patients who were very sick and in need of AIDS medicines, but not have the authorization and medications to help anyone except the pregnant women and newborns. In Gabon around 10% of the population is HIV positive, so it is a major health problem. Before we could offer patients hope in Jesus, but now with the medicines we can also offer hope for improvement in their health.
Dr. Alain Mbongo, our HIV/AIDS specialist, has already started a number of patients on the medications. Additionally, the first week of April several members of our HIV/AIDS Team (see photo of team) participated in screening programs in area villages, in conjunction with a Canadian organization. A number of people were found to be HIV positive. Unfortunately, the special lab machine, CD4 Counter, used to follow the progress of these patients, did not work when it arrived. We pray that we will soon have a functioning machine to be able to followup our patients’ progress.