Almost 2 million people live with HIV in Tanzania while over 2 million children have been orphaned by the virus. Tanzania suffers from a severe shortage of health workers; there are only 3 trained health professionals for every 10000 people. This means that many who are HIV-positive are undiagnosed and untreated.
We are concerned about the community of 7000 Maasai in Mererani. That’s why our community workers visit them regularly and provide them with medical treatment and medicine. That’s not enough though. We need to build a health center in Mererani where people can be tested and where we can talk to them in a more private way.
The Maasai are at high risk due to sexual practices such as large age gaps between spouses (15-45 years), sexual access to age-mates wives (wife-sharing), sanctioned sex between unmarried warriors aged 15-29 and pre-pubescent girls aged 8-13, and female circumcision. One of the concerns is that young warriors will continue to satisfy their sexual desires in urban areas where HIV prevalence is considerably higher than in rural areas. They will then return and spread the virus within their traditional communities.
What our community workers in Mererani do:
- Give access to high-quality HIV/AIDS testing and counseling services
- Increase awareness of HIV/AIDS testing and prevention methods, such as voluntary medical male circumcision (at hospitals!) and condoms
- Strengthen referral systems to treatment and prevention services
- Distribute condoms
- Distribute necessary medicine for the sick ones (not only for HIV infected people) and ART for HIV infected pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission)
Stop HIV in Tanzania!
To stop HIV in Tanzania we need many more hospitals and health care centers. Maisha Maasai’s goal is to build a health care center in Mererani in 2021