MANET + in equitable access to treatment for HIV patients in Malawi

Malawi Network of People living with HIV and Aids (MANET+) says it is committed to implementing an equitable access to treatment, care and support for PLHIV in Malawi to ensure such people were fully involved in developmental activities.

The equitable access to treatment, care and support for PLHIV in Malawi project to be implemented over a three year period in six districts of Mangochi, Kasungu, Mzimba, Rumphi, Ntchisi and Thyolo has a budget line of K98 million.

Speaking on Friday at Mangochi Boma during the briefing of the District Executive Committee, MANET+ Executive Director, Safari Mbewe said the project aims at increasing access to the understating of human rights-based policies and programmes.

“The project will support individuals living with HIV to make choices that address their needs and allow them to live healthy lives free from stigma and discrimination,” Mbewe said.

Mbewe said the initiative would specifically strive to promote empowerment of PLHIV by enhancing meaningful involvement in a bid to strengthen the promotion of health and access for treatment, care and support.

He added that the programme would conduct training to educate and enhance understanding of specific PLHIV laws and policies relevant to HIV and Aids.

“The project would also have a component of dialogue sessions in gender based violence with PLHIV, community leaders and health care workers,” Mbewe said. “This approach would also address reproductive and sexual health rights for PLHIVs.”

A patient taking ARVs

He said the project would also strive at promoting the empowerment of PLHIV by enhancing their meaningful involvement in policy decisions which affect them.

Mbewe said of particular concern would be advocating for the (Greater Involvement of People with HIV and Aids) GIPA.

“We will do that by facilitating placement of GIPA volunteers in both private and public institutions,” Mbewe said.

The Executive Director, therefore, said the success of the intervention would be measured on the basis of many women demanding their human rights, increased number of people with access to resources and benefits and vibrant networks of PLHIV, among others.

Meanwhile, the project which will be in two Traditional Authorities of Chimwala and Makanjira will also advocate for increasing uptake of PMTCT, increasing male participation in PMTCT and scaling up HTC services.

District Aids Coordinator for Mangochi, Ernest Kadzokoya observed that the introduction of the programme by MANET+ in the district would go a long way in complementing efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

“The coming in of MANET+ will complement the efforts the district council and development partners are already making in making sure that further spread of the virus is contained,” Kadzokoya said.

MANET+, established in 1997, is a coordinating and facilitating body to promoting effective networking amongst associations and support groups of people living HIV and their collaborators.

Some of its member organisations include the National Association of People living with HIV and Aids in Malawi, Coalition of Women Living with HIV and Aids, Teachers Living Positively and the Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids.

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