Director for HIV/AIDS Department in the Ministry of Health, Dr Frank Chimbwandira has said it is important to test early for HIV so that people can get on life-saving treatment as soon as possible.
Chimbwandira has since asked communities to advantage of the Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA) survey, which began data collection on November 27, 2015 in Zomba district.
MPHIA, a nation-wide survey about HIV, will give participants an opportunity to get free HIV and CD4 testing in their homes and results will be given that same day. Free counseling will also be provided in the privacy and comfort of participants’ homes.
“Participating in MPHIA is easy because MPHIA staff will come to you. MPHIA survey staff is trained to keep the information participants discuss confidential. As part of the survey, participants will be asked to take part in a household interview and an individual interview,” said Chimbwandira.
Survey staff will also providing participants with referrals so that they may choose a health facility to go to for care.
With their permission, test results will be returned to a nearby health facility so that they can discuss the test results with a doctor or nurse.
“For participants already living with HIV/AIDS, this is an opportunity to get these tests done in their homes, for free, instead of going to a health care facility. MPHIA staff can send these results to participants’ doctor so that they can know how they are doing.
“The main objectives of the survey are to estimate a nationally representative rate of new HIV infections (HIV incidence), and estimate how many people in Malawi including children are living with HIV (HIV prevalence).
“MPHIA will also provide a population-based estimate of how many HIV-positive persons are on effective treatment, the level of drug resistance in adults and children, and prevalence of stunting and under-nutrition among HIV-exposed and infected children,” explained Chimbwandira.
Approximately 15,000 pre-selected households will be surveyed by MPHIA staff. These randomly selected households are spread throughout all 28 districts in Malawi except Likoma Island. All adults aged 15-64 in a household may be eligible to participate in MPHIA, regardless of known HIV status.
The results of MPHIA will provide the Ministry of Health and its partners with the most in-depth, nationally representative data on HIV ever collected in Malawi.
This data will be used to assess the impact of past HIV and AIDS interventions and will help to identify where future programs, funding priorities, and policies need to be directed. This information will help Malawi get closer to meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals.
The survey is expected to continue through April 2016. The results of the MPHIA survey will be presented at a National Dissemination Workshop, which will be held in 2017.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :