Malawi watchdog CHRR condemns patients queuing for ARVs in Chikwawa

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has expressed worry over increasing reports that HIV/Aids patients are forced to queue to access t heir life-saving  anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) at Ngabu Rural Hospital in Chikwawa.

Queuing for ARVs
Queuing for ARVs

CHRR Advocacy Coordinator, Fletcher Simwaka said lack of an independent ART Clinic at the facility undermines the privacy and dignity of the patients to access health services in a favorable environment.

This was revealed during an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) Thursday after an interface meeting which the organization held with duty bearers and service users at Ngabu.

Said Simwaka, “We indeed held an interface meeting with duty bearers as well as service users; especially health service users in Ngabu with an aim of addressing challenges patients are facing in accessing ART treatment.”

He added that there was a need to strive so that the rights of the people on ART are respected as there was no justification why one on ART should queue for the service.

Simwaka stressed that during the interface meeting, communities singled out drug shortage and staff shortage as major challenges being faced by communities in accessing health services.

He commended the strong relationship between government and CHRR saying it will help foster government’s 2015/2020 National Strategic Plan where amongst other things is the 90:90:90 HIV/AIDS initiative.

Responding to the concerns from the Interface meeting, Chikwawa ART Coordinator, Mark Suzumire said construction of the new ART Clinic at Ngabu Rural Health Centre is underway and expected to be completed next year.

CHRR with financial support from Oxfam is carrying out the activity “Enhancement of communities’ demand for equitable health services” in T/A Kayembe in Dowa District and T/A Ngabu in Chikwawa District.

The main goal of the project is to promote a society where dignity for all men, women, boys and girls affected and infected by HIV and AIDS is upheld.

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