By Phyllis Nkhoma -Mana.
District Supervisor for Malawi Network of People Affected by HIV/AIDS (Manerela+) in Kasungu, Joseph Nthondo has asked Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) recipients to advocate and demand for quality health services when accessing treatment in health care facilities.
He made the call on Tuesday during a dialogue session between health care providers and ART recipients from different support groups in the district.
Nthondo said through the Citizen Science community led and advocacy project (CS-CLM) that they are implementing in the district, Manerela+ wants to forge a cordial relationship between healthcare providers and clients.
He said that, “We are providing awareness to recipients of care on one hand, and health service providers on the other, that there should be good collaboration among them. We want ART recipients to have better access to health service without being burdened or shouted at.
“This meeting is important because we want to meet the government target of an HIV/Aids-free nation by 2030 and through these dialogue sessions it is possible to achieve this target,” the Supervisor said.
An official for Kasungu District Hospital, Ulemu Zulu said although Kasungu as a district has registered a decrease in new HIV infections, more need to be done on access to health as more people shun ART services due to fear of stigmatisation and shyness.
He said, “We need to work hand in hand if we are to fight the disease and this begins right from accessing the treatment. As Kasungu district hospital our doors are always open for any person regardless of his/her status to access the services.”
Titukulane Tokha Support Group Member, Mercy Phiri said a cordial relationship between health providers and recipients was very important as it strengthens communication and encourages openness among clients.
Manerela+ is implementing the community led monitoring and advocacy project in eight health facilities in Kasungu and six in Dedza with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through International Treatment Preparedness Coalition( ITPC).