Conslata Awino Otieno – known simply as Coni, or Nyar Lunyu (Daughter of Lunyu) – is the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Officer for Positive Aid’s projects in Kenya. She is compassionate and committed to her work helping women as they become mothers.
Coni first became involved in the project in 2007. At this time HIV and stigma were terribly high in the villages. (HIV) Positive herself, Coni was chosen to be trained as a Community Health Worker to help care for those sick with the disease.
Over the years, Coni has gained extensive experience caring for people in her community. And Positive Aid has built her capacity further through numerous trainings including two in neighbouring Uganda.
When asked about her personal relationship to her job, Coni candidly explains how – before knowing her own HIV status – she birthed a HIV positive boy, and three babies who sadly passed away. With the support of Positive Aid’s training and learning how to prevent HIV in babies, Coni later gave birth to three more babies – participating in the recommended ‘Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV’ (PMTCT) program. This protected her babies in each of her later pregnancies and birth. “Even if I was HIV Positive, I had three children Negative… and that is where I gained my [real strength] in MNCH”.
Coni proudly tells us that Positive Aid’s project is the only one in the area helping pregnant women and mothers deal with the many challenges they face. “Now we have reduced the number of children being born with HIV – even if their mothers are HIV Positive… I thank Positive Aid for the courage they have given me. I’m now strong”.
Interview recorded April 29, 2020 by Mordecai / Transcribed by Jess