Lilongwe District Assembly has bemoaned an increase in the number of defaulters of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) treatment in the district.
Councillor for Chilenje Ward, Blessings Njolomole disclosed this Tuesday at Chigodi Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in the area of Senior Chief Mazengera during activities organized as part of World Vision Malawi (WVM) commemoration of World AIDS Day.
He said the rate at which ARV patients are defaulting their medication poses a danger of re-infection if no tangible measures are taken.
“The Assembly has noted that 30 out 100 patients on ARV drugs are defaulting their medication. This is worrisome development in quest to fight the pandemic in the district,” Njolomole explained.
The Councillor pointed out that government has made proper provisions in all health facilties to enable patients on ARV have easy access to their medication.
“We have information that patients are defaulting due to cultural and religious beliefs, peer pressure and some feel that they are healed after taking the drugs for long time,” Njolomole told the gathering.
He said government plans to reduce the prevalence rate drastically by 2030 hence the introduction of the 90:90:90 initiative to combat the impact of the pandemic.
Njolomole expressed concern over reported cases of discrimination people living with HIV are experiencing in their communities.
“We need to eliminate such cases in our communities if the fight against the pandemic is to be won at all cost,” the Councillor observed.
WVM Coordinator for Water and Sanitation for Lilongwe, Lida Manyozo urged the communities to develop a spirit of going for HIV tests.
She said after knowing their sero status they would be able to make informed choices for their lives as those that would test positive would stand a chance to access ARVs on time.
Manyozo informed the communities that her organisation would conduct HIV test exercises in the area next week.
“We are appealing to traditional and religious leaders to be in the forefront in mobilizing their subjects to access the facilities for their own good,” she added.
Chairperson for Lilongwe Interfaith Coordinating Committee, Master Kachigunda urged the youth to go for HIV testing as one way of reducing the further spread of the disease.
He said the youth needed to be protected from acquiring the HIV virus so that they grow up healthy and be able to contribute positively to the development of their area and the country as a whole.
WVM in collaboration with Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), Malawi Network of Aids Service Organisation (MANASO), National Aids Commission (NAC) and Lilongwe District Assembly organised the activities as part of the continuation of the commemoration of the World Aids Day which falls on December 1, every year.