A Living Model of Healthy Life
At the Community Care Centre(CCC), Lucknow we can see a happy young 30 year old lady, Poonam Devi from Sukroli, Bihar. She has been living here for the past four years, helping inmates overcome their trauma of having been inflicted by HIV. She shares her knowledge gained from interactions with WATER AID / CREATE staff at the CCC about WASH. She exemplifies and is a living model of how water, sanitation and hygiene compliance can bring about a reduction in OIs and help one to lead a healthy life.
Poonam was not always as cheerful. She came to know of her positive status about seven years ago. Living with her mother and father-in-law in a small village in Bihar, she was thrown out of her house after her husband, also a positive, expired. With no money the distraught women did not know where to go. By luck she met another HIV positive male visiting ART Lucknow. He helped her the CCC.
She was only 20 kg with a CD4 count of a meager 34. She was so weak and anemic that she had to be injected four bottles of blood. She could hardly eat or move around. Regular counseling and support helped her recover and rehabilitate. After four years that she spent serving people like her at the CCC she is now a confident and happy person weighing 46 kg with a CD4 count of 800. She takes great care to guide the patients who come to the CCC about safe drinking water, hand washing, sanitation and personal hygiene like nail cutting, menstrual hygiene etc.
She says that she can notice the change that regular practice of WASH can make. “I have seen constant increase in CD4 counts of many clients I have worked with. Those who have observed regular hygiene practices of washing hands at critical times and religiously taken to safe water are much healthier than before. Being from the community and helping those like me gives me immense pleasure. I will always keep guiding my fellow brothers and sisters about WASH because it is such a simple way to keep healthy. ”