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Where Have All the Parents Gone?

Aired September 23, 2006 - 20:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Soon Africa will be a continent of AIDS orphans. "Where have All the Parents Gone?"
I'm Christiane Amanpour. Join me as we travel to Kenya to hear the children's stories.

In Isiolo, Kenya, just where the northern highway turns to dust, we met 11-year-old Muktar trying his best to be just like all the other children in school. Studying hard in class. Having fun with his friends in the playground. But try as he might, he can't escape the tragedy that is bearing down on his family.

Here, in this small room, his eyes burning with sorrow, Muktar watches over his father, who is slowly slipping away.

Another little African boy wonders whether he too will become one of the million AIDS orphans in Kenya.

Muktar, can you tell me what you are thinking right now, what you are feeling?

MUKTAR: I am feeling but I -- if I go to school I just remember my father.

AMANPOUR: So you are just thinking about your father all the time?


AMANPOUR: Like any little boy facing a family tragedy, Muktar is confused. His parents, Hussein and Fatma, have not yet mustered the courage to tell him that they are both infected with HIV.

Does your son know your illness?

HUSSEIN (through translator): I know he thinks I have AIDS. But I am afraid of telling him because I know he'd be shocked.

FATMA (through translator): He asks me why is daddy sick? In school they taught him that if some one vomits and sweats a lot at night those are the symptoms of AIDS. But if I tell him, he will be scared his parents might die.

AMANPOUR: What would you like to tell other children, other people about your situation and your parents' situation?

MUKTAR (through translator): I'd like to warn them that there are dangerous diseases out there that can even kill you.

AMANPOUR: What diseases?


AMANPOUR: And AIDS has been like a runaway train, cutting through millions of lives, especially the children's. Every day, 1,800 infants are infected, mostly at birth, even though there is a way to stop that.

Every day, 1,400 children die of the disease, even though there are, by now, life-saving drugs. But so few people have access to them.

Africa is by far the hardest hit. Here, the legacy of AIDS is 12 million orphans and counting.

Eleven-year-old Florence first lost her mother and then her father to AIDS, their disease her only inheritance.

In the song, you sang about being just a statistic and about the world not caring. What do you think they should know about you, about a little girl like you who got HIV through no fault of her own?

FLORENCE (through translator): We need help, a nice place to go to school. And we need medicine so we're not so badly affected by this disease.

AMANPOUR: What is your biggest fear?

FLORENCE (through translator): AIDS and remaining an orphan.

AMANPOUR: At least they Khadija Rama (ph), who runs this center, supported By UNICEF. She clothes and feeds 600 orphans in this neighborhood while she tries to find them foster families.

KHADIJA RAMA (ph), WIND OF HOPE CENTER (through translator): Of AIDS orphans or children living with AIDS, they are just a liability to their community. So they face a lot of abandonment and discrimination.

AMANPOUR: Muktar and his parents were abandoned by their family when Hussein got AIDS. Like so many African men he got it on the road. He was a truck driver. And he brought the disease home to his wife. Yet she is the only one who has stood by him.

HUSSEIN (through translator): My own family threw me out. And once that happened, no neighbor or friend could help me.

AMANPOUR: Have you made preparations for your son's future?

FATMA (through translator): If we died now, he would be in great trouble. Because I don't have anyone who will take him. My mother can't because she has her own problems. He wouldn't be welcome there.

AMANPOUR: Hussein was so desperate about his family's plight he planned to kill himself.

HUSSEIN: (through translator): I thought about taking poison. And maybe poisoning my whole family as well.

AMANPOUR: You pretty much had to try to Intervene to stop him from committing suicide?

FATMA (through translator): Yes. He told me he had bought some poison, which is called Ratinrat (ph). It's used to kill rats. And then I told him that the love you share between the three of you, according to me, I look at it as very beautiful.

When you use Ratinrat (ph) on people you love, then you are killing them like rats.

AMANPOUR: And if you had both died, what would happen to your little boy?

HUSSEIN (through translator): I was even thinking about poisoning him because he is my biggest burden. And I didn't want him to suffer alone in this world.

AMANPOUR: But Muktar thinks only of his father's suffering.

His father looks like he is dying. His mother is infected. What is going to happen to him?

RAMA (ph): That's a difficult question. He is such a nice child. Because I have seen so many of them smile at me this one time, and the next time I look into the same eyes, their eyes are dead.

AMANPOUR: Do you think he will be one more orphan?

RAMA (ph): Obviously, yes.

AMANPOUR: Stay with us for Muktar's story.


AMANPOUR: In the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, it's morning rush hour. Eight hundred thousand people live here, and 50,000 of them are AIDS orphans, including these three children picking their way through the mud and garbage to get to school and to their first meal of the day.

Why do you have to feed the children here?

JOSEPHINE MUMU (ph): Because this is their only meal. Most of the children are orphans.

AMANPOUR: Josephine Mumu (ph) started the Stara (ph) Rescue School where 70 percent of the children are AIDS orphans.

MUMU (ph): They have to drink their porridge at 10:30, then have their meal at 12:30. AMANPOUR: And that's all they have in 24 hours?

MUMU (ph): Yes, that's all they have. And most of the children do carry some in their pockets to take to their bed-ridden mothers at home and their siblings.

AMANPOUR: And we watched as these little kids took a few bites themselves and then carefully spooned the rest into bags because their sick mothers have to eat properly in order to stomach their harsh AIDS medicine.

MUMU (ph): Some of them are refusing the diets because they don't have food.

AMANPOUR: What's the way out of this?

MUMU (ph): The way out is certainly food, food for the children, food for the -- for their mothers at home.

AMANPOUR: And if they don't get it, they'll die, leaving their children to the grandmothers.

Everywhere in Africa, there seem to be these heroic people, the grandmothers who've raised their children, who are old, and who are now raising their children's children, because their own children have died off.

MUMU (ph): Yes.

AMANPOUR: Without them, what would this place be like? Without the grandmothers?

MUMU (ph): No children, they'll all die because of hunger.

AMANPOUR: Sixty-two-year-old Beatrice is one of these grandmothers. In the twilight of her life, she now has to raise four grandchildren.

BEATRICE (through translator): My daughter got married to a man who was infected. But back then no one was getting tested. So she got infected.

AMANPOUR: And she passed the virus to her son Kevin. So every morning, Beatrice has an important appointment to keep.

Why were you watching your watch so closely before you gave him the medicine?

BEATRICE (through translator): If he doesn't take it exactly on time, either earlier or later, the virus comes up. So I give him the medicines at 7:30 on the dot.

AMANPOUR: Kevin wouldn't survive long without this powerful cocktail of pediatric ARVs, or anti-retrovial drugs, which have only recently become available for children.

And if you didn't have these ARVs for the child, what would happen to him?

BEATRICE (through translator): Before he was doing so badly, and he was so thin.

AMANPOUR: But now, sauntering to school with his siblings, Kevin feels like a little superman, strong enough even to carry his cousin Peter over the open sewer that leads to their classroom.

Meanwhile, Beatrice heads off to work. And she is not getting any younger.

Traditionally you would be the one being taken care of now. Instead, you have to do all the caretaking?

BEATRICE (through translator): What can I say? It's bad luck. It's like being hit by a truck.

AMANPOUR: Do you feel like you have been hit by a truck?

BEATRICE (through translator): Exactly. My daughter has left me with this. She should have been taking care of me like a little child. I would have been staying here with other grandmothers. And she would have been bringing us food.

AMANPOUR: Instead, Beatrice has to be the breadwinner. This is where she goes every morning, to Nairobi's foul and fetid garbage dump where she'll compete with an army of scavengers.

BEATRICE (through translator): I'm looking for plastic bags and anything else I can sell to get food.

AMANPOUR: Beatrice will make 10 cents for each pound of plastic she collects. At the end of a back breaking day, she may make $1.

The work you do looks very, very difficult. Do you ever get used to it?

BEATRICE (through translator): When I think about the smell, I want to throw up. But there is no other way for me to get food for the children.

AMANPOUR: What would your little grandchildren do if you weren't here to help them?

BEATRICE (through translator): All of them would be working in the dump where I go.

AMANPOUR: You know, though, that people like you, grandmothers, are the real heroes of Africa now? Do you understand that?

BEATRICE (through translator): No, I didn't know. I thought I was just taking care of my grandchildren. Sure there are people who abandon their grandchildren but in some families everyone dies and the children are left totally on their own.

AMANPOUR: Like this family of nine orphans. The oldest among them, Halima (ph), is still a teenager. But she alone has to feed, dress, and get them off to school.

How hard is it to keep your family together? They all go to school, right?

HALIMA (ph) (through translator): Yes, they all go to school. I amount only one that stays at home.

AMANPOUR: But you really should be in school?

HALIMA (ph) (through translator): But who will look after them if I don't. I would love to go to school. But I can't let the children to suffer.

AMANPOUR: So instead of home work, it's House work. Halima (ph) can earn 10 cents for scrubbing the neighbor's pots and pans, and another 50 cents for washing their clothes.

At the end of the day, she'll make just enough to throw together a meal. But these menial jobs won't pay enough to keep her brothers and sisters in school.

And she's worried that AIDS have not only robbed them of their parents but of their futures too.

HALIMA (ph) (through translator): I won't lie to you, I can't afford to send them to high school, unless some one helps. That's the only way.

AMANPOUR: And if they don't, what will happen to them if they're not in school every day?

HALIMA (ph) (through translator): The boys could become thieves. The girls could go the wrong way. I won't be able to control them anymore.

AMANPOUR: Which is why she is so fiercely determined to protect them, even if it means putting her own dreams on hold.

Halima (ph), you're really sacrificing your own future, your own education for your brothers and sisters.

HALIMA (ph) (through translator): Yes. Because I love them.

AMANPOUR: In a neighborhood marked by scarcity, love is the one thing that is not in short supply. As Beatrice will again show us. With one grandchild HIV positive, she has now decided to test them all. And later, we'll see what the results are.

BEATRICE (through translator): Even if they were limping on one leg, they would still be mine. And I would take care of them. I won't look down on any of them, no matter what happens.


AMANPOUR: Out in the remote village of Kambi Garba, in northern Kenya, these Tokana (ph) tribeswomen don't just let anyone in. But Khadija Rama ph) is a friend. And they've put on a big welcome for us.

There is however one important group missing here.

I don't see any men here really. Where are the men?

RAMA (ph) (through translator): My husband was killed by the main enemy, and the enemy that also caught my child while the child was inside me. That child is very sick. He is there now.

AMANPOUR: But the enemy is AIDS?

RAMA (ph): The biggest enemy -- this enemy is AIDS.

AMANPOUR: Out here, there's little AIDS testing or treatment. There's barely anything to eat, barely any water.

Why is your baby so small?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There is no food. There is no milk.

AMANPOUR: And is it infected with the HIV virus?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes.

AMANPOUR: Drought has wiped out their cattle herds. And they face starvation.

As we traveled deeper into the bush, the color and traditional welcome belied the disaster that has befallen these tribes.

There are still men in this village, and once they join the dance, it is a signal that we can come in.

In song they are saying that we have come to tell their story. And it is a shocking one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My people are now beggars. And they're eating berries and seeds.

AMANPOUR: This is what you pick to eat now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, and before, our children used to drink milk and eat meat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our last cow died three days ago. Now this is all we have left to eat.

AMANPOUR: And we were appalled to hear what they're doing to buy food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now men have to send their wives into town for prostitution so they can bring home some food. AMANPOUR: What?

RAMA (ph): But when they came back home with food, they also came with the disease.

AMANPOUR: Wait a minute. They send their women out?

RAMA (ph): To do prostitution.

AMANPOUR: Prostitution?

RAMA (ph): So that they can bring back food. That's how bad it was in their nation.

AMANPOUR: How could you send your women out to sell their bodies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We send them there because we are hungry. How can we get food when we have nothing?

AMANPOUR: All Khadija can do is encourage them to use condoms to keep AIDS from spreading.

RAMA (ph) (through translator): During the day, the spear is used as a tool for protection, isn't that right, ladies and gentlemen. So are you going to use the protection you need for night time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will take them.

AMANPOUR: They'll take them. But will they use them? So far, 31 adults have died of AIDS in this village, leaving behind dozens of orphans. And just like in the cities, it's the grandmothers whose are holding the line.

It's not just the children, but also the very old who are now bearing the burden of AIDS. In fact, these grandmothers are the unsung heroes of Africa. They are taking care of nearly half of all the AIDS orphans here. Some of them are barely able to look after themselves and yet they have to summon the strength to also take care of the children who have been dumped on them.

Monica points out the nine grandchildren who she is looking after in cramped hut.

MONICA (through translator): Their father went to work in town and died. So their mother became a prostitute. And when she died of AIDS, she left behind all these children.

AMANPOUR: Do you have enough food to feed them? Do they all eat or are they hungry?

MONICA (through translator): The children are dying of hunger. Can't you see? This one is crying for food.

All she has is provided by Khadija, as long as she is willing to walk the 20 kilometers to her center. Once a month, Khadija gives each family 10 kilograms of a UNICEF food supplement, but it is never enough.

RAMA (ph): We are facing secondary hunger and starvation in most of our households. So it is not supplementing anything, that's the main meal. That's what is there.

AMANPOUR: And it doesn't even last the Month that it is meant to last.

RAMA (ph): Maybe a week.

AMANPOUR: To stretch it out, Monica dilutes her ration into a watery gel, which she doles out to her nine hungry grandchildren. More often than not she goes without.

And as for AIDS, no one has tested these children or even knows whether they need life-saving anti-retroviral drugs?

Can you be sure that all of them are free of the virus?

RAMA (ph): We are afraid to test them. We test them, then what? Then what? Test them, know their status, yes, and then? We can't put them on ARVs. We cannot provide for all of them to get the nutrition needs they need. We can't give them water.

AMANPOUR: The grandmothers just hope they can survive as long as these little children need them.

How old are you, Monica?

MONICA (through translator): I don't know how old I am. I could be 50. I could be 20.

AMANPOUR: You could be 70, you could be 80.

Monica just wants to live long enough to pass on her grandmotherly wisdom.

MONICA (through translator): I have seen with my own eyes what this disease can do. So I tell people try not to get it. But they don't listen.

AMANPOUR: Have you told your grandchildren?

MONICA (through translator): When they grow up, I will tell them the truth. I don't know if they'll listen. But at least they have seen for themselves how we have been living.

AMANPOUR: When we come back, back in Nairobi, grandmother Beatrice discovers the truth about her grandchildren.


AMANPOUR: Back in the slums of Nairobi, it is Beatrice's day of judgment. She is now marching her whole family to be tested for HIV, the first step in getting treated and perhaps even beating the disease.

What if you find out they're all infected and they all need drugs? Can you take care of four children with HIV?

BEATRICE (through translator): Whatever God wills, I will accept. I can't take a panga knife and kill them. I will just leave it to God.

It was Pastor Peter Idochi (ph) who introduced us to Beatrice. And he's has made it a mission to encourage people like her to test all of their children. And 25 years after the AIDS invasion, to finally confront the truth about it.

AMANPOUR: Is that a problem here that parents can't talk honestly to their children?

PETER IDOCHI (ph), PASTOR: Yes, that's a problem.

AMANPOUR: And so they're not really able to prepare their children for what's coming?

IDOCHI (ph): Yes. And they have to know how their parents died.

AMANPOUR: So you are encouraging parents, who you know are sick, to tell their children and to prepare them.

IDOCHI (ph): Yes to tell their children and prepare them, now there is a danger. If they continue hiding, more danger will come.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Beatrice wants to protect all her grandchildren from the danger of AIDS. She already knows that Kevin has HIV because he was tested two years ago. Now he is doing so well he is everyone's favorite patient.

Here at the community clinic for HIV positive children, he gets a checkup once a month. And a free refill of his pediatric AIDS drugs thanks to PEPFAR, a U.S. government program.

Kevin's siblings are new to the high-tech world of AIDS medicine. But it begins simply enough. A blood test will show if they're also HIV positive. The first to take the test is 12-year-old Christopher. Then his little eight-year-old sister, Beatrice, finally it's Peter's turn, the three and a half year old baby boy. In just 15 minutes Beatrice will find out if any of them will be living with HIV for the rest of their lives.

The social worker lets Beatrice see the results for herself. The first one is Christopher's.

BEATRICE (through translator): Thank God.

AMANPOUR: The baby boy's results are also a blessing.

BEATRICE (through translator): Thank God.

AMANPOUR: But the two red lines in this test are bad news. BEATRICE (through translator): This one is sick.

AMANPOUR: Her little granddaughter is HIV positive.

BEATRICE (through translator): I'm still thankful because if they were all sick I couldn't handle it. But it is just poor little Beatrice.

AMANPOUR: Counselors will now start the medical file on little Beatrice, who is truly the innocent face of this epidemic. But she will make it through her childhood as long as this test leads to regular checkups, and treatment with the proper pediatric AIDS drugs -- and as long as her grandmother is still around to look after her.

BEATRICE (through translator): Even if my heart feels pain, that's just the way it is. It's just God's will.

AMANPOUR: Nevertheless, these children are among the fortunate ones because half the children infected with HIV in Africa die before their second birthday, which is why they have been the invisible victims of this disease.

Doctor Chris Ouma is UNICEF's pediatric AIDS specialist here.

(on camera): Why have children just really got the raw end of the stick in this disease?

DR. CHRIS OUMA, UNICEF KENYA: I think it is everybody's fault really -- we were slow on the science. We did not speak out for them. Companies did not see the incentive to invest in drugs for children, since there is no one to pay. All of this has resulted in an unacceptable death. I think now, as technology brings out more superior drugs things are starting to change. It is 10 years too late, but at least something is being done now.

AMANPOUR (voice over): But that something is still not enough. Less than 5 percent of the HIV-positive children who need treatment actually get it.

(on camera): The sad fact is that many babies who contract AIDS in Africa need never have been infected, even if their mothers are HIV-positive. There are 2 million children living with HIV around the world. And most of them contracted it from their mothers at birth. This is very rare in countries like America and Europe because doctors there have the treatment to stop it. But in poor places such as Africa, only 10 percent of pregnant mothers have access to those drugs.

(VOICE OVER): Steven Lewis is the U.N. Special AIDS envoy to Africa.

STEPHEN LEWIS, U.N. AFRICA, AIDS ENVOY: In the Western world we use full anti-retroviral treatment for the mother during much of the pregnancy. Then what happens? 99 percent reduction of transmission. You rarely hear anywhere. I challenge you to think of when you have heard over the last period that an HIV-positive mother, who has given birth in the United States or in Canada, has given birth to an HIV- positive child. It does not happen.

We eliminate transmission by the nature of the treatment. Now that is another grotesque double standard.

AMANPOUR: Kenya is doing much better than most African countries. But it still only reaches just half the pregnant women in need. Ann Matura runs this prenatal clinic, at a public hospital, all the pregnant women are tested for HIV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The result was negative. The mother was really happy that she is negative.

AMANPOUR: The women who test positive for the virus will get a single dose of a drug called Navirapin (ph), when they go into labor. And a syrup, which has to be refrigerated, will be given to their newborns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's given to their babies immediately after they deliver, to prevent further transmission soon after delivery. That's all it takes to cut the transmission of HIV from mother to child in half. But 20 miles deeper into the countryside, where there is no power and no refrigeration, this simple treatment is not available.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have the drugs.

AMANPOUR: John Neae (ph) runs a public health clinic serving 18,000 people. And before we brought them, he didn't even have the HIV testing kits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That means the children are living in danger or in fear because no one knows whether they're HIV positive or negative.

AMANPOUR: In Kenya, 20,000 to 40,000 newborns are needlessly infected by the virus every year. In the whole of Africa, it's 500,000.

LEWIS: People are dying who don't have to be dying. No one seems to be able to get through to the world that we're fighting for individual human lives here. This isn't some abstraction.

AMANPOUR: It's not yet a lost cause.

(on camera): Here in the heart of rural Africa in villages which have no electricity, no running water, and no paved roads some one has figured out how to win a battle in the war against AIDS. And that's where we travel to next.


AMANPOUR (voice over): We've come to Massai country, and the Ambericoni (ph) Clinic located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. We are here to meet the people who have figured a way out of Africa's medical catastrophe.

(on camera): We are looking forward to seeing something that works, something that brings some hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're excited to take you around and let you see what we're doing here.

AMANPOUR (voice over): What they're doing is amazing. In short, giving rural Africa 21st century health care. This is the brain child of American philanthropist Ann Lurie, who is also a pediatric nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we are here from a long way away to help that you all stay healthy.

AMANPOUR: She has planned and paid for this clinic, and labs, and all the high-tech medical equipment that the poor in Africa can only dream of. Doctor Tobiko is one of the physicians here.

(on camera): How normal is it for a place in the basically the middle of nowhere to have this kind of sophisticated health care?

DR. OIDAMAE TOBIKO, AID VILLAGE CLINICS: It is unbelievable. It is really rare. OK? I never thought you could have such a thing in the middle, as you say, in the middle of nowhere.

AMANPOUR: It's basically the best that money can buy?


AMANPOUR: And the news has spread like brushfire. Every day men, women and children come in from the Massai plains to get appointments with the doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our last monitor showed that she has done very well on anti-virals.

AMANPOUR: Not only are they diagnosed, treated and given follow- up care, everything is free.

And the doctors see everything, from this old woman's scorpion bite, to this man who has HIV. His blood is scanned by the latest machines; just like it would be in the best hospitals in America.

But what makes this program really special is the outreach.

TOBIKO: We don't just sit here and wait for patients. We go out there and -- and get them, take their medications to their doorstep. Take even blood for investigation at their particular --

AMANPOUR: At their huts.


TOBIKO: What's new? Is there anything that needs my attention?

AMANPOUR: After consulting with the Doctor Tobiko, Agnes Lessica (ph) collects the medicines, and gets ready to take them out to her patients. Agnes is one of 16 community health workers who keep this project rolling. Every morning they pack up their medicines, check their bikes, suit up, and prepare to hit the road.

(on camera): What is this incredible daily, morning hive of activity?

BARRY COLEMAN, RIDERS FOR HEALTH: This is really the bit that saves lives.

Barry Coleman's mission in life is to make Africa's health care mobile. He runs an organization called Riders for Health. And he has teamed up with this clinic to provide the missing link, transport.

COLEMAN: The entire continent of Africa is more or less grounded when it comes to health outreach, which is a pretty big problem when you think of the effort that goes into sending drugs, sending health care expertise, and it all doesn't reach the people who need it.

AMANPOUR: We rode along with Barry and Agnes as she made her way to her hut calls, through sandy tracks and punishing terrain.

First stop on these motorbike medical rounds is to check on five- year-old Nanettia she is HIV positive. And she waits in their primitive mud hut for Agnes to bring them the latest in life-saving drugs.

(on camera): You are going to get the medicine out of this traveling -- traveling store case.

(Voice over): Agnes has also come to give this Massai grandmother an important medical exam, to see whether she has learned how to prepare Nanettia's medicine.

(on camera): Agnes, what are you doing? Why are you making a mark?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mark of which she has to, mix the solution, put the capsule, after diluting she will take 15 ml for the kid.

AMANPOUR: Skeptics often scoff that people like Grandma Nassuru (ph) can't master the AIDS routine. But she is about to prove them wrong.

Step one -- fill a massive syringe with 20 milliliters of water. Step two, dilute the medicine, and mix the solution. Step three, measure out a 15 milliliter dose. She passes with flying colors, and Nanettia is getting better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is taking the medication well. And the viral level has gone down.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Which means that's good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is very good.

AMANPOUR: Her grandmother is doing an excellent job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Now she is improving.

AMANPOUR: If the mobile hospital wasn't here, and the clinic wasn't here, and Agnes and the doctors, how would she get any drugs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't know what I would have done or where this clinic came from, but thank God it is here. Because otherwise, this little girl would be dead.

AMANPOUR: Barry here we are in about as traditional and rural setting as you can imagine. What is the secret to good health care here?

COLEMAN: It is getting it here. But what is happening here is, unusually, that health care is being brought to this village. And that doesn't happen in most of Africa.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Bye. And all your kids, bye.

(voice over): To see the difference it makes when drugs and medical care actually reach the people who need them, we made our next house call to 32-year-old Encotekia (ph). She is a mother who is HIV positive. But during her pregnancy, mobile health workers brought her complete ARV therapy. And that stopped the virus from passing to her newborn son.

And to make sure little Killalo (ph) never inherits the disease, he must not drink his mother's milk. That's why the clinic provides a regular supply of baby formula. Bringing health care to this far-flung hut has saved a child from AIDS, and from becoming an orphan.

(On camera): Are you convinced now you can beat aids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, we can do it.

(Voice over): And if AIDS can be corralled in the Enbirikani (ph), in the Massai country, where every day still passes much like it did centuries ago, why can't it be controlled in all of Africa?

(On camera): It's almost like a simple solution that works. It's not massively complex.

COLEMAN: Most certainly not rocket science, that's what they say about Africa. Nothing gets through. Nothing works. People die, oh, it's Africa. It is absolute rubbish. Of course, it's not Africa. It is that we don't do it right except in isolated cases like this one. We better start doing it right, because people are just dying for absolutely no reason at all.

AMANPOUR: And can something like the Embirikani Project here, can that be replicated? Can we take this around the country? Around Africa?

COLEMAN: Yes. Absolutely. Yes, yes, yes. We have got the ARVs, we have public health knowledge, we have the transport that works here, we have highly trained public health workers. There is no need to be ambivalent about that at all. Of course, we can.

AMANPOUR (voice over): But for now, most of Africa can only dream of this kind of health care, including Muktar and his father, who is slowly slipping from his grasp.


AMANPOUR (voice over): As AIDS continues its relentless march across Africa this will soon become a continent of AIDS orphans. There are 12 million today, but in four short years, there will be 18 million.

LEWIS: There are some countries where by 2010, 10 or 15 percent of the entire population, not the child population, but the entire population will be orphans.

AMANPOUR: Steven Lewis is the U.N. Special AIDS envoy.

LEWIS: They're like kids everywhere. They're so bewildered by what's happened to them, that they stand in the hut, and they watch their parents die and they're their lives fall apart, and it is inexplicable.

AMANPOUR: Anthony and Gabriel's parents both died of AIDS and left them alone in this wilderness.

(On camera): What do you remember about your mother and father?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They were people who loved me.

AMANPOUR: Without that love and care, they have to fend entirely for themselves. Walking to school every morning, and doing all of their chores when they come home every evening. Trekking an hour to collect water and firewood, which they need to cook their one meal of the day.

AMANPOUR: Do you remember the last time you had some meat or vegetables or fruit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, I remember. It was when my parents were still alive. Back then we lived well and we had food to eat. Now we go to sleep hungry. We don't even have clothes to wear. And we don't go out any more.

AMANPOUR (voice over): So much loss and deprivation makes them determined to work for their future. Every night they read by the dying light of the fire. Ironically, this lesson is about African diseases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An example of disease for which a vaccine is not yet able is malaria.

AMANPOUR: Anthony wants to be a doctor. Gabriel a teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If I do well in my exams, I will become a teacher so I can help myself.

AMANPOUR: Do you think your parents would beep proud of you to see how you are coping in a such a difficult circumstance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think they would be happy.

AMANPOUR: And Anthony and Gabriel have a message for all the other AIDS orphans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What I want to say to those who have lost their parents is that they should be strong and never give up.


AMANPOUR (voice over): Muktar is trying to be strong, trying not to give up on hope. Keeping a vigil in his father's sick room, while his mother desperately tries to keep death at bay, hovering over her husband wiping down his fever; using the alarm on her cell phone to give him his drugs on time, but time is running out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If you are poor, you don't have enough money for all the medicine, there is just no way you can make it.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Do you have some kind of hope now for your son, a wish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I just want him to have a good life, a good education. I worked hard to do that. And he was doing so well in school, then I got sick.

AMANPOUR: Do you remember what it was like, in your family, before your father was ill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Life was good. I studied well. Our family was the best.

AMANPOUR: What does family mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It means I love them, and respect them.

AMANPOUR: That's what Hussein asks of all those who discard their sick like so much refuse, even now 25 years into this AIDS epidemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm begging anyone whose family members are infected please don't kick them out. Don't shun them. Remember the meals you once shared. Look after them and give them hope.

AMANPOUR (voice over): In the end this was Hussein's last testament. He died less than a month later. He is buried in this public cemetery in northern Kenya and his son Muktar, for whom he had such high hopes, now joins the legions of Africa's AIDS orphans, the millions who have lost their fathers their mothers, or both, to AIDS.



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