by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — Loyce Maturu of Zimbabwe, Africa, visited The Bridge recently as part of her U.S. media tour to promote awareness of an ongoing global fight against HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. She personally suffered from two of the three illnesses that took family members’ lives when she was young, which caused her to think she would die as well.
“I lost my mother and my younger brother to AIDS and tuberculosis when I was 10 years old. I cried for so many times and I thought I was going to die, but here I am today,” Maturu told The Bridge. “I am here in the United States with support from RESULTS just to create awareness on how important it is for the U.S. community to understand and to put a face on issues around tuberculosis.” Tuberculosis is important to put in the spotlight because the disease is preventable and curable, but it is still a leading killer in some parts of the world — such as Zimbabwe.
Maturu was treated and cured of tuberculosis through funds coming from the Global Fund — an organization that raises and spends billions of dollars on fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Tuberculosis is closely associated with poverty and is often passed on through the coughing and sneezing of those living too closely in overcrowded conditions, according to information on www.theglobalfund.org. People who contract tuberculosis are most often impoverished, malnourished women and children. Therefore, it often goes untreated and spreads due to fear of stigmatization and lack of education.
Maturu is hoping to help The Global Fund fight back and spread the word in the United States, including from The Bridge located right here in Montpelier. Maturu said she wants other children living with HIV and AIDS to see they can “become confident just like me and to realize that they can achieve their goals and dreams for the future.”
A short video produced by The Bridge featuring Loyce Maturu can be viewed on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/KMVcUXJrY8A.