This profile was prepared when Irma Rosado was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1990.
The New Idea
Once a person comes down with AIDS, their world crumbles quickly. They will probably lose their job; their family will probably not be able or willing to cope; and they confront terrifying emotions and fears. All these problems are compounded if they are poor. Mexico, still struggling to address prevention, has hardly begun to think about care for the rapidly growing number of terribly ill, cut-off people suffering from the disease.Using her organization EVIHA as an example, Irma is building community programs fitted specifically to Mexico's cultural realities, that deal with all aspects of the epidemic. Besides working with agencies that promote prevention and early detection of the disease, she wants to show Mexican communities how to provide for the rapidly growing population with active AIDS. Irma realizes that one form of care, such as medical treatment, is not sufficient. An ill person may need alternative, sheltered employment. Later they may be too ill to stay safely at home alone while others are at work. Ultimately they will need a hospice in which to die with some dignity. Throughout their illness, they will need various forms of support and counseling. This is especially so for those who have neither financial resources or family to support them. Irma is launching such an integrated, community-based service which she hopes will meet all these needs. Drawing on both outside and community resources and the leadership and work of those ill with the disease, she hopes soon to have such a service in place in Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, the largest slum area in Mexico. By drawing many national leaders first into the design and then into the Board of this model, she is also laying the foundation of its becoming the rational model the country needs.