By Enalla Mnyenyembe, MANA
Mzimba is one of the five districts in the county to benefit from a project aimed at strengthening the delivery, coordination and monitoring of HIVAids services through faith based institutions.
In an interview on Friday on the sidelines of a meeting with stakeholders in Mzuzu City, Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) monitoring and evaluation officer, Gift Werekhwe said the project would involve identifying men and boys for HIV testing as well as protecting children against sexual abuse.
“Most of the times such initiatives target women and girls but leaving aside boys,” he said.
“So this project, with the help of different faith based institutions, is aimed at reaching out to men and boys as well on issues of HIV and Aids,” he said.
He said the communities will be sensitized on HIV testing to encourage boys and men to also participate and that any children’s form of sexual violence will be addressed.
“This project will benefit communities with different HIV programs the reason being that most communities are affected by the HIV pandemic, hence people will be encouraged to know their status besides providing them with medical supplies,” he said.
Mzuzu City Council public relations officer, McDonald Gondwe, said they were grateful of the new project as it is focusing on HIV testing and also seeing to it that it has taken a holistic approach on tackling issues of HIV and Aids.
“Mzuzu City Council welcomes this project as it aims at dealing with HIV since there are many misconceptions regarding HIV and religion.
“Since this project will be championed by faith groups, we believe that it is going to be of impact on ironing out misconceptions on HIV and religion,” Gondwe said.
This project will be implemented in five districts — Mzimba, Chiradzulu, Blantyre, Zomba and Thyolo — with funding of about US$7.1 million from Center for Disease Control from the US government.
The project started in September this year and is expected to wind up in September 2020.
It will be implemented by faith based institution such as CHAM, Malawi Interfaith Aids Association, Blantyre Synod, Malawi network of religious leaders with or personally affected by HIV and Aids (MANERELA) and the National Aids Commission (NAC).