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Occupational and nutritional therapy for people living with HIV and AIDS

This edition’s story about providing psychological care to a man in Togo who became ill from COVID-19 has some similarities to a radio script FRI published in 2011 about providing occupational and nutritional therapy for people with HIV in Lesotho. This is our Script of the Week. 

Lesotho is a mountainous country bordered on all sides by South Africa and with a population of about two million. In 2011, it had the world’s highest HIV prevalence at 27.7%, though, because the population is small, in absolute numbers only about half a million were infected with HIV. That resulted in the average life expectancy of Lesotho being very low—37 years. Breadwinners, especially men, often travelled to South Africa to work in the mines and returned home with HIV. Those unable to obtain treatment died, leaving behind widows and children. As a result, many households were headed by children.

In 2011, HIV-positive people were receiving antiretroviral therapy, or ART. Treatment and drugs were free and HIV-positive people were live longer and healthier lives. However, people living with the disease, especially widows and children, often suffered the dual pain of HIV infection and poverty. Resources were scarce and jobs hard to come by. In order to help each other, People Living With AIDS, or PLWHAs, formed support groups to tackle common problems.

The Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre was one such support group. It aimed to empower families and communities by using a holistic and practical community-based approach to care and support. The Centre is located in the middle of the Thuathe Plateau in Berea District, which faces the beautiful Lesotho landscape and Maluti Mountains. The centre catered not only to the needs of HIV-impoverished people, but also the nutritional and occupational needs of nearby communities. It offered a wide range of alternative and complementary therapies to vulnerable groups (HIV-positive or not), including massage, meditation, fitness exercises, and open-air garden walks.

This script is a mini-drama based on an interview with the founder of the centre and participants in the Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre in October 2010. Informal interviews also took place between the writer and two German interns who had volunteered at the Centre for about six months. 

You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.

http://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/package-93-healthy-communities/occupational-and-nutritional-therapy-for-people-living-with-hiv-and-aids/ [1]