18 September 2017

Malawi: Police Officers Encouraged to Go for HIV Test As PCI Trains Peer Educators in Balaka

Malawi Police officers in the Eastern Region District of Balaka have been encouraged to go for HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) to know their status as one way of combating the deadly Aids pandemic.

The call was made at the end of a day long Peer Educators (PE's) Training of Balaka Police Station Officers which took place at Sue

Rider Hall and was organised with funding from Project Concern Universal (PCI) Balaka Office.

Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times, Assistant Supt. Robert Sakwiya who represented the Station Officer (S.O) admitted that Police Officers have not been spared by the deadly killer disease hence the need for Peer Educators to be equipped with knowledge and tools that can assist in reducing the growth rate of the infected fellows.

Balaka Police HIV/Aids Coordinator and Peer Educator Assistant Supt. Edward Girevulo said the training will assist them in making

evaluations and see how much change they have brought in the Malawi Police Service particularly at Balaka Station as well as looking at which areas to improve.

Girevulo however expressed concern with the high infection rate among police officers.

"Infact Malawi Police Service (MPS) is very much affected because the infection rate is very much higher amongst Police Officers. We

therefore need to think about our lives and families and avoid engaging ourselves in extra marital affairs" said Girevulo.

Speaking on behalf of female Officers, Assistant Supt. Salome Osman said she was happy to be part of the Peer Educators team at Balaka Police and that she will capitalise on this to share the knowledge and experience gained through the training with other officers.

"I am very happy to be part of this group and I will share whatever I have learnt here with others. I will also encourage my friends to go

for VCT" said Osman.

She therefore advised fellow Police Officers that: "They should abstain and avoid engaging themselves in risky behaviours that can

lead to contraction of HIV".

A 2013 Survey Conducted by German Aid Agency Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) that singled out the Northern Region part of Malawi revealed that the Malawi Police Service was the only Government Department badly hit by the pandemic amongst all the Civil Services Departments.

By then, the infection rate was at 32.5 percent for Female Officers and 23.7 percent for Male Officers.

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