By Duncan Mlanjira
The Faculty of Law at Chancellor College (Chanco) has launched a Health and HIV/Aids Clinic whose mission is to provide the optimum legal and health educational experience for all stakeholders through advocacy, teaching, research, sensitisation and service.
The clinic, more or less like a club or a society at secondary school, was launched on December 1, which is World Aids Day and as a way of creating awareness of its existence, the clinic organised voluntary AIDS testing at Chancellor College Sports Complex.
A total of 46 people came for voluntary testing of which 10 were female and 36 male,” said the clinic’s chairperson James C. Katunga, a law student. “At the beginning the traffic was slow, but towards the end a lot of people wanted to be tested.
“As such, we have left it open in that those who still want to know their status, which we strongly recommend, will be going to our Clinic and get tested. Otherwise funds permitting, we intend to conduct these testings including for vitals every semester, funds permitting.”
Its vision is ‘to have a legally backed health society through education and advocacy’.
The clinic works under the following values — delivering a link between law and health, promoting advocacy and sensitisation on health related issues while demonstrating integrity, accountability, transparency, teamwork and collaboration with various stakeholders, embracing diversity and respecting organizational tradition while encouraging innovation.
Its objectives are that students, members of staff and the community at large will become knowledgeable, competent, independent thinkers and learners on law and health related issues.
The Clinic, let alone the faculty, will be recognised as an important tool in health-related issues in our faculty, discipline, University and community at large.
The department will regularly evaluate the adequacy of resources. Recommendations for prioritizing use of existing resources will be made and, as needed, strategies for accessing new resources will be developed.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank all who took part to make this function a success including service providers,” Katunga said. “We did this exercise using college resources, that’s why it was small scale.
“We hope people and sponsors can assist us in order to do a big project and since this will benefit not only the students, but also the people around us.
He said the initiative was sanctioned by University of Malawi and is being funded by the faculty of law within Chanco administration. It is being supported by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Associate Professor Garton Kamchedzera; the Heads of Foundation legal studies, Chikosa Banda and Dr Chilemba, Supervisor Gift Makanje, treasurer Yvonne Kenani, secretary Monica Namandwa, Clinic liaison officer Chestone Kapote.
“Since we have just started as a clinic, we are yet to get support from NGOs and other health and HIV related organisations,” chipped in Supervisor Gift Makanje. “It is not limited to students alone, but also to members of staff and the surrounding community.
“And since one of our objectives is to sensitise people of their rights on health issues, this may also benefit the world at large,” she said.
As the way forward, Makanje said those that did not have the opportunity to get tested, can do still come forward and they will continue the exercise early next year.
They will also create awareness in the HIV Prevention and Management Act and Lobby for and connect with partners to reach out to people within and about so as to create awareness of their rights to health related issues. And to speak on health violates from a legal perspective.