Muslim women urged to be vigilant on HIV/AIDS

Muslim women in Malawi have been urged to be vigilant in fighting HIV/AIDS to contain the spread of the pandemic, which has adversely affected the Muslim community at large.

Marriam Ali Khan, Coordinator for Mai Aisha Sisters Youth AIDS Programme (MASYAP) at Mpingwe Mosque said this recently in Blantyre at a ‘monthly meeting’ (May) for 16 different women support groups drawn from the Southern Region.

She said they have managed to end the culture of silence, which was there among Muslim women on HIV/AIDS, saying that now they have opened up and are able to talk about it with their husbands.

Muslim women

“We share ideas with other support groups on what they are doing through these meetings and it motivates others to emulate. As leaders, we inform them on various issues affecting them and give them updates on donations.

“We also train them as caregivers to assist everyone regardless of religion and we are happy because more Muslim women are coming to these meetings,” she said.

Khan, however, said despite the progress they are making, challenges still remain, saying that currently they have one donor, Mai Aisha Trust.

She said that they are failing to fulfill some of their programmes because of inadequate resources.
Lucy Mbewe from Mtendere Madrassah Support Women Group said she had learnt many things through monthly meetings MASYAP conducts.

She says through home-based care, she has learnt how to take care of AIDS patients and how to prepare nutritious foods, among others.

Mbewe, however, says they still face some challenges like food shortage, saying when taking ARVs, patients need balanced diets.

“When taking care of AIDS patients, we put on plastic bags instead off gloves because we don’t have money to buy them. This is dangerous because the plastic bags easily break exposing them to the virus.

“We need start-up capital to do small-scale businesses as some of us are still strong. If given loans, I am optimistic we can be successful in any business venture,” said Mbewe.

MASYAP started in 2008 and has 517 members. 200 of them are HIV positive.

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