Chiefs fueling AIDS stigma in Karonga: People living with HIV ‘dead already’

An appalling  situation has rocked people living with HIV/AIDS in the lakeshore district of Karonga with chiefs denying them access to development projects from government such as public works as well as the Farm Income Subsidy Programme (FISP).

GVH Mwenelupembe addressing the meeting

GVH Mwenelupembe addressing the meeting

Hariri speaking during the meeting

Hariri speaking during the meeting

Ngwira of FOCUS ; its a worrisome development chiefs need to change to avoid suicide.

Ngwira of FOCUS ; its a worrisome development chiefs need to change to avoid suicide.

People living positively sounded the SOS last Friday during an interface meeting organized by the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) at Lupembe and Iponga in the district, arguing the behavior of the chiefs was impacting negatively on their lives.

Hariri Mwamatandala, chairperson of Iponga HIV/AIDS Support Group, revealed that he now “regrets coming into the open about my HIV status.”

He said: “We’re not benefitting from the MASAF 4 programme because of our status. The same with FISP. None of us has received.”

Flora Namani of Chisowolo Support Group of Lupembe said it was painful that two members of their group had died in 2015 because of stigma.

“On top of that chiefs are denying us a place to hold our meetings so that we can woe fellow HIV positive colleagues to join us. They say we’re dead already and that we will teach people bad behavior,” said Namani.

Group Village Headman Mwenelupembe admitted the existence of the tendency but was quick to say that it was only “happening in a few areas.”

Mwenelupembe said he has on several occasions “several complaints on these issues.” He was sure that the “situation has changed since we called the concerned chiefs to discipline them.”

FOCUS monitoring and evaluation officer Vincent Ngwira admitted the situation was “worrisome.”

Ngwira added that it was unfortunate that chiefs who are supposed to be in the forefront supporting those living with HIV, were fueling stigma.

Stigma continues to rage on in most of the country’s communities despite President Peter Mutharika’s insistence that his government will have eliminated the same by 2030.

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6 thoughts on “Chiefs fueling AIDS stigma in Karonga: People living with HIV ‘dead already’”

  1. Redeemed says:

    It’s regrettably sad that at this day and age, we still read of such stories. I’m speechless!!.

  2. Funzo says:

    Such ignorance!

  3. zingati zanu says:

    W immediately. Wa HIV ndi munthu ngati wina aliyense.. That must stop and forthwith. Zanu ndi zingati kodi

  4. nankalizi says:

    Kodi kumeneku sikuja mumati kuli anthu ophunzira kwambiri kuja? Ndiye ngati akuyambisa kusankhana okhaokha ndiye mwati munthu wa pakati kapena kumwera angamuwonenso ngati ndi munthu?

  5. WAMISALA says:

    PRIMITIVE THINKING CHIEF !!

    ARE YOU GOD ???

    FROM TODAY EACH AND EVERYBODY MUST KNOW
    THAT ITS ONLY GOD WHO
    GIVES OR TAKES SOMEBODYS
    LIFE !!!

    AND THE LIFE GIVER AND TAKER (GOD)
    DOES NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM YOU
    AND ME.

  6. Anonymous says:

    One thing we forget is that being HIV + doesn’t mean one is dying tomorrow and again being HIV- is not a gurantee that one will live past tomorrow………….lets not stigmise them cos others got infected from their loved ones yet they were faithful and this can happen to anyone

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