Malawi: Youth's Poor Adherence to ARVs Haunts Health Authorities in Rumphi

Rumphi — Rumphi District Health Office (DHO) has expressed concern over default and lack of adherence to anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs by young people living with HIV and AIDS in the district.

Rumphi DHO Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) deputy coordinator, Elizabeth Silungwe, expressed the concern Monday when she officially opened a two-day training session for primary school teachers on how they can assist learners living with HIV and AIDS.

She said if the trend is not checked, it would lead to increased new HIV infections besides making the drugs resistant to the defaulters.

Silungwe said most young people living with HIV and AIDS take the life prolonging drugs intermittently when they have to take the drugs every morning and evening while adults take ARVs once every day.

"Others choose to take ARVs in the evening, missing the morning dosage for fear of going to school late. This situation becomes worse when parents and guardians do not remind their children on the need of adhering to the drugs," said Silungwe.

She, therefore, challenged the teachers to be engaging the learners' parents on the health status of their children and take a leading role in reminding the children to be adhering to ARVs treatment.

Speaking on behalf of a consortium of Rumphi Women Forum, Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA), Rumphi District Coordinator Alice Mwanza, said the two organizations expected the training to assist the teachers to acquire knowledge on how to treat learners who are living positively with the virus.

"Our overall objective is to assist these teachers to understand how best they can assist learners living with HIV and AIDS without compromising their access to education.

"Learners spend most of their time with teaches, hence the need for teachers to have the basic knowledge on how they can assist such learners," Mwanza explained.

The training which was organized by Rumphi Women Forum with financial assistance form Action Aid targeted 36 teachers from Katowo, Bumba and Luwuchi education zones.

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