YOUTH BLOG: Finding a healthier outlook
Thabang, a 19–year–old herd boy from Lesotho, attended one of Sentebale’s ‘health outreach’ sessions. We work with the Ministry of Health to bring HIV testing services to herd boys in the remotest regions of Lesotho, so they can know and take control of their HIV status.
“I didn’t attended school, so I had never thought about health clinics, because all the time I was looking after animals. I did not understand why I had to go to the health clinics if I was sick.
I would talk to the parents at the farms where I worked if I had problems, and then they would give me medication from the traditional healers. It was very difficult to go to the health clinic, because I don’t have clothes to wear when I am sick – these were the problems that I had.
The health talk that we had today means I feel like I can visit the health services given by care providers near me. I feel free to access health services, and to tell my friends how they can too.
I hope that, one day, herd boys can understand that we are all just like other people, we are equal. I want them to have knowledge about HIV/AIDS, and for parents and farmers to allow them to attend health talks given by health providers, then they can have this knowledge too.”
Is it estimated that 84% of all adolescents with HIV are living in sub-Saharan Africa. The herd boy community are at significant risk, being physically removed from all essential services means they are often unaware of their HIV status. Sentebale’s Youth Hub is working to close this health care gapby linking herd boys in non-formal education to public health services, vaccinations and HIV/AIDS programmes.