An increase in collaboration and partnerships must occur to boost efforts to fight against HIV and AIDS and ensure that those living with the virus are not subjected to stigma and discrimination, says the Malawi Network for People Living with HIV and AIDS (MANET+).
MANET+ programme officer responsible for Research and Advocacy George Kampango said this in an interview with Nyasa Times on Friday on the sidelines of a series meetings his organization is conducting with district executive committee members (DEC) in selected districts.
The NGO is implementing an advocacy project in Mzimba, Rumphi, Kasungu, Ntchisi and Mangochi.
The three year project; towards equitable access to treatment, care and support services is being funded by Oxfam.
Kampango said his organization seeks to strengthen a working relationship among HIV and AIDS players in ensuring that people living with HIV and AIDS have access to improved health services.
He said the project aim to increase access to and understanding of evidence-informed, human rights based policies and programs that support individuals living with HIV and AIDS to have healthy lives free of stigma and discrimination.
Said Kampango: ‘As MANET+ we are encouraging players in the HIV and AIDS to create a referral network where immediate client needs for comprehensive HIV care and supportive services are assessed and clients are helped to gain access to such health services.”
He said a well-established referral network is vital to meeting the needs and establishing contact with clients and families who need ongoing care and support.
”Persons living with and affected by HIV have a wide range of needs; physical health, psychosocial well-being, food and economic security. These all services cannot be delivered by a single community or group, hence the need for the referral network,” he said.