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SITEKI – A 10-year-old HIV positive boy is in danger of aggravating his already fragile health condition because he occasionally overdoses on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, health officials have warned.

*Zama, who is said to have lost his mother when he was a toddler, stays with his cousin in a rural community located about 15 kilometres from Siteki town – on the eastern parts of this country. The exact location has been deliberately concealed to protect the minor from stigma. The young boy lacks proper parental care and support, as the cousin sometimes goes away for a number of days, leaving him alone to take care of other younger children, community members said.


Zama is also left alone to take care of his own health, and as an ART patient, he is supposed to take ARV drugs daily. In the absence of proper supervision and guidance from an elder person, Zama sometimes overdoses on the ARV drugs or defaults on taking them, according to neighbours.


“His health is seemingly getting worse. He doesn’t look healthy at all. Sometimes neighbours give him breakfast so that he can take his pills (ARVs),” said a neighbour. Neighbours are concerned about Zama’s seemingly aggravating health and the lack of parental care and support. One of the neighbours told this publication that Zama was recently given the ‘wrong’ type of ARVs at the clinic and there was no one to assist him return the drugs to the clinic and collect the right type. “What concerns us is that our neighbour (Zama’s cousin) goes away for days, leaving the children without food. Hence, the children are forced to ask for food from neighbours. The one who is on ART (Zama) is left alone to take the medication without supervision and he sometimes overdoses on the drugs,” said a neighbour.

Community members told this publication that they had already informed social workers about the horrendous conditions Zama was living under. Meanwhile, another community member told this publication that Zama’s father was contributing monthly towards his welfare but the money was allegedly misused by the cousin.



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