Feeding Hope: Care in a Conflict Country

Two years of pain, nausea, fevers, and still-births had reduced Mme G. Kléklé to 103 lbs. and forced her to abandon her trading, the sole income for her household of two children and seven adults in a village outside Man, in Cote d’Ivoire’s strife-torn western region. The family struggled along on a single daily meal of boiled manioc or rice.

Then things got worse: In January 2006, her HIV test came back positive, and her extended family shut the door on her. “My father-in-law told my husband to get rid of me,” the 30—year-old recalled.

But diagnosis was followed by hope – a referral to IDE Afrique, a local organization that provides care for people living with HIV/AIDS. IDE Afrique is one of nine local sub-partners in CARE International’s Emergency Plan-funded project to expand HIV prevention, testing, and care services in the North and West of the country, where continuing conflict has disrupted government services and economic activity.

Since launching its services in early 2006, IDE Afrique has provided palliative care for 630 of the 1,219 PLWHA (including 825 women) served by CARE International’s three regional project sites.

For the past three months, CARE and IDE Afrique have supported Mme. Kléklé with medical and psychosocial care and home visits, as well as monthly rations of rice, corn or soy, salt, beans, and oil provided by the World Food Program. With three meals a day and medications to prevent opportunistic infections, her strength has rebounded along with her weight (to 115 lbs.)

So has her social standing. “My father-in-law has become very attentive to all my actions and gestures,” she says. “If night falls and I haven’t returned from the field or town, he sends my husband out to look for me – something he never did before.”