People Living With Disabilities Defaulting On ARVs Worrisome – DHMT


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The Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT) has raised concern about people living with disability (PWDs) who continuously default on their antiretroviral therapy, and living unhealthy lifestyles which may consequently put their lives at the risk of developing non-communicable diseases.

Speaking at a health campaign held in Maun on Wednesday Ngami DHMT Coordinator Dr Sandra Maripe acknowledged that the behavior is however also influenced by the negligence of the caregivers, the stigma and discrimination the people face from the community.

The campaign which was conducted by the Tshidilong Stimulation Centre in collaboration with Botswana Council of the Disabled was meant to empower PWDs and promote their healthy lifestyles on HIV, NCDs and Human Rights.

The campaign which also aimed at preventing and reducing the health risks through public awareness and promotion of healthy lifestyles was held under the theme, ‘A healthy Lifestyle for all, free of preventable diseases.’

Maripe stressed that a healthy lifestyle is important to all but very critical for people living with disabilities because with good health, the effect of the disability is minimised.

“Lack of adherence to HIV/AIDS medication is a major concern in our community,” she revealed. Maripe warned that defaulting on ARVs has detrimental consequences such as the development of viral resistance, treatment failure and increased risks of disease progression.

She however noted that the Ministry of Health has come up with the multi-sector strategy for the Prevention of Non-Communicable diseases that focuses on the major four- Cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases which account to the 82% of NCD- related deaths.

“Along these are four common modifiable risk factors they are associated with being alcohol abuse, smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of exercises,” she noted.

Maripe therefore advised people living with disabilities to eat healthy, exercise or partake in daily activities like walking or jogging or even going to the gym. She further encouraged them to regularly visit the hospital for checkups and monitoring of blood pressure, blood-sugar levels, pap smear and HIV/AIDS testing or monitoring.

The coordinator also encouraged the caretakers and the community at large to support people living with disabilities as they need that on a daily basis.

For his part, Tshidilong Stimulation Centre Physiotherapist Daniel Dibebe also shared the dangers people with disabilities face when they do not taken good care of themselves. He highlighted that it is very costly having to go around hospitals and clinics seeking for medication and attending physic sessions at the same time.

“If a person is disabled but also has a noncommunicable disease like sugar diabetes, they are likely to lose their sight or lose their hearing which will increase the disability of that person,” Dibebe added.  He warned that this will make it difficult and unbearable for both the caretakers and the patient.


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