Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected with HIV and Aids (MANERELA+) is currently implementing an AIDS free project in Partnership with CHAM and IMA World Health Organization (WHO)-a United States faith based organization in Washington DC.
The project is being carried out in Dedza District with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to MANERELA+ Project Officer for Dedza Harold Kachepatsonga, the Aids free project is focusing on Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).
Kachepatsonga told Nyasa Times that the project is on pilot phase and that it is targeting two Health facilities under that are under CHAM namely Mtendere and MUA .
“The duration is from March to December but chances are there for continuation if the pilot phase is going to register success. The project is targeting Religious leaders as champions on PMTCT. The reason why the project wants to take religious leaders on the forefront to promote PMTCT is that religious leaders have got a very large constituency they serve and that almost 90% of the people in Malawi belong to a certain faith grouping and that religious
leader’s command respect in our society” said Kachepatsonga.
He further revealed that the other reason is that religious leaders are good in terms of confidentiality and that when building capacity on PMTCT, they will be able to reach out to many people as possible and that they pass on information to their congregants for free.
Meanwhile, MANERELA has organized a three days training workshop on PMTCT for 20 religious leaders from MUA and Mtendere Catchment area.
“The purpose of the training is to equip the Religious Leaders with knowledge on PMTCT and how they can collect and analyze data from the interventions that they will be engaged in their respective constituencies” said Kachepatsonga.
Among other things, the Aids Free project is aimed at Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation Project and to improve the quality and effectiveness of high-impact, evidence-based HIV and AIDS interventions in order to meet country-specific goals and objective.