US reaffirms commitment to supporting Malawi’s HIV fight

The Government of United States of America (USA) has reaffirmed its commitment to providing technical and financial support towards Malawi’s fight against HIV and Aids.

USA Deputy Chief of Mission, Jeremy Neitzke, speaking at MPHIA 2020 launch

Minister of Health Jappie Mhango and Professor Wafaa El-Sadr cut the ribbon to mark the launch of MPHIA 2020 launch

The USA Deputy Chief of Mission, Jeremy Neitzke, was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the launch of the Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA II 2020).

The Government of Malawi will undertake the MPHIA for the second time in partnership with ICAP in Malawi.

The study is expected to help the country understand the HIV epidemic in Malawi.

Previously data on the pandemic used to come from health facilities, which excluded those who are not in contact with the health system, thus giving the country a limited picture.

Nevertheless, Neitzke said his government is impressed with the strides Malawi is making in containing further spread of HIV and providing ultimate care and treatment to persons living with the virus.

“We are quite happy that Malawi continues to register significant progress in the fight against HIV and Aids. The United States Government commits to continue supporting Malawi in its fight against HIV and Aids,” he said.

ICAP at Columbia University Global Director, Wafaa El-Sadr, said the scale-up of HIV prevention, care and treatment programs – and particularly the provision of HIV treatment – has dramatically enhanced the lives of people living with and affected by HIV.

El-Sadr disclosed that these advances have borne fruits in Malawi.

“Over the past three decades, the Government of Malawi has been working tirelessly to control its HIV epidemic. With a concerted and dedicated approach that has been centered on engaging communities and a focus on strengthening health systems, comprehensive and high-quality HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment programs have been successfully implemented and scaled-up. Malawi continues to exemplify what national-and local-level commitments can achieve and how embracing innovations can pave the way to success,” she said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango said despite the country’s efforts to fight HIV and AIDS, there was limited monitoring of HIV incidence, population CD4 count, pediatric HIV prevalence. population-level viral load, population-level drug resistance and ARV metabolites until 2015 when this type of survey was instituted.

Mhango said it is against this background that the Government of Malawi, in collaboration with ICAP at Columbia University and with support from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), agreed to conduct the Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA).

“Data from MPHIA 2020 will help set funding priorities with respect to HIV and AIDS programming. This information will enable the Ministry of Health to engage in evidence-based policymaking and informed dialogue with the development partners,” he said.

Meanwhile, El-Sadr has thanked the Government of Malawi, US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) as well as the networks of people living with HIV, UN agencies, the Global Fund, civil society organizations, and health professionals for their contributions and support for MPHIA 2020.

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