Even though the percentage of people living with HIV in Benin remains low at approximately 2% of the population, new patients are still being diagnosed at the Evangelical Hospital of Bembéréké (131 in 2012). Most patients come from the surrounding 100 – 200 km region around the hospital. These living with HIV are often among the poorest of the population. In the Beninese context, this means stigmatization and sometimes rejection by family. Women suffer especially as they depend on their family or husbands, and orphans and vulnerable children may not be sent to school due to a lack of means. People living in rural areas are mainly dependent on their crops and cash is not readily available.
Traditional belief in the spirit world is strong and also influences what people believe about health and sickness. Most address themselves first to local healers to purge evil spirits. Chronic disease is a difficult concept for people to understand and patients are often tempted to abandon treatment when they feel better. Polygamy and the lack of acceptance that women can live single also influence the spread of HIV.
The Alafia Project 98382
The Alafia project aims to provide holistic care to people living with HIV as well as their families in order to improve their living conditions, reduce stigmatization within their community and demonstrate the love of God. We offer medical treatment effectively and in compliance with government standards while encouraging support groups in order to reduce infection and mortality rates from HIV and AIDS. Our volunteers assist with support groups, home visits and follow-up for ART patients. By continuing progressive education Bembéréké-Sinendé Health Zone, we aim to reduce and ultimately eradicate the HIV infection in our area.