Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers Memorable patients

Zambia needs basic medicines and HIV education

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 13 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:895
  1. D Elphick, specialist physician
  1. St Francis' Hospital, Katete, Zambia

    About 500 km along the Great East Road from Lusaka, in Zambia, lies a mission hospital. This hospital serves a population of almost 200 000 subsistence farmers—a population devastated by AIDS.

    Mabvuto is 25 years old and is dying on the male medical ward of this hospital. He is cachectic and weak. He has chronic diarrhoea and cough. Oesophageal candidiasis makes swallowing painful. He had one child who died last year at the age of 2 years. He is HIV positive. He has been abandoned and stigmatised by his own family. His bewildered wife is on the point of despair. She cannot understand what has happened to her husband. His family believes it …

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