Malawi partners with two US organizations in anti-AIDS drive

The Malawi branch of the US-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) has partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Malawi’s Ministry of Health in a new program which seeks to strengthen HIV service delivery in the country.

In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, the five-year program plans to implement activities in seven districts in Malawi’s Central West, Central East and North zones.

Funded by the CDC under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the program will strengthen district-level health capacity and systems to ensure the provision of high-quality service delivery.

“Through this program, EGPAF and its local partners will work closely with the CDC, the Malawi Ministry of Health, and Zonal and District Health Offices to implement health systems strengthening activities designed to improve service delivery for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), and other public health problems which have led to high mortality and morbidity for Malawi’s 14.4 million people”, reads the statement.

This five-year award builds upon the Foundation’s previous work in Malawi.

For more than a decade, EGPAF has provided critical technical support and expertise to build the capacity of Ministry of Health-supported healthcare systems and facilities and to increase access to comprehensive and integrated services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and HIV care and treatment for women, children, and families in Malawi.

To date, EGPAF has reached nearly 600,000 women in Malawi with services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).

Although adult HIV prevalence in Malawi has decreased from 11.4% in 2004 to 10.6% in 2010, about 80,000 new HIV infections still occur annually.

In addition, the HIV epidemic continues to influence TB rates in Malawi, where 68% of all TB patients are also HIV-positive. Maternal, infant, and under-5 mortality rates remain high in Malawi, where only 73.2% of births occur in health facilities.

“Building capacity at national and district levels and prioritizing health systems strengthening interventions will be crucial to sustainably delivering quality HIV prevention, care, and treatment services,” said Project Director Nicole Buono.

Ms. Buono also successfully led Project HEART, a highly regarded, CDC-funded HIV/AIDS program implemented by EGPAF across five African countries.

“We are thrilled to be a new partner of CDC in Malawi,” said Ms. Buono. “This program will be built upon EGPAF’s experience in Malawi, as well as our work with CDC and PEPFAR across Africa.

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