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Image courtesy of (RED)

“My favorite part is to help people out of their sickness, out of their pain,” says Nana, senior nursing officer at Adabraka clinic and a hero on the ground in Ghana.

Nana works to council HIV-positive women on how to stay healthy through pregnancy and keep their babies HIV-free.

Nurses and community health workers like Nana are the backbone of strong health systems. They’re leading the charge to prevent and combat the stigma and structures that make fighting HIV such a challenge.

Nana has been a nurse for 10 years, working to keep her community healthy and prevent the spread of HIV. Her strength, passion, and conviction are evident in her work.

“I see people outside, they call me ‘Auntie Nurse.’ I look back and they hold up their toddler and say, ‘This is my son.’ Their babies are negative. That’s all, that’s my joy.”

Though there’s greater public acceptance of people living with HIV in Ghana than in the past, high levels of stigma and discrimination against them still remain. 

“It is possible to end mother-to-child transmission, but there should be more education, and HIV shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy and fear and all that,” says Nana. “It starts with us to speak.”