22 March 2019

Malawi: Blantyre DHO in HIV and Aids Awareness Drive

Blantyre — Blantyre District Health Office (DHO) in conjunction with National Construction Industry Council (NCIC), JHPIEGO and Mota Engil Monday conducted HIV and Aids sensitization campaigns aimed at warning people to avoid multiple relationships and engage in unprotected sex.

Speaking during an open day organised by the NCIC at Lirangwe Community Ground, DHO Public Relations Officer (PRO), Chrissy Banda said Blantyre district which has a HIV prevalence rate of 18 per cent is working so hard to reduce its figures to a single digit.

Among other, she said her office has intensified its outreach programmes as well as partnered with organisations working in the district in conducting HIV and AIDs awareness campaigns with the idea to change people's mind and perception towards the pandemic.

"The 18 per cent HIV prevalence rate is a worrisome figure and we are not comfortable with it. This is the sole reason why we are conducting these awareness activities.

"Our core objective is to make sure that people are aware of the disease at take proper measures if they want to engage in sexual activities," the PRO said.

She said the district had the high prevalence rate due to morbidity of people since it is the commercial city of the country and a centre for people in the southern region.

Banda revealed that it is the wish of the health office to achieve the 90:90:90 campaign which was set United Nations.

"Through these campaigns we want to make sure that 90 percent of the people living with HIV but are not aware get tested, and 90 of those tested positive are put on ARVs and also that the 90 of those on ARVs are followed for the betterment of their lives," she explained.

Monitoring and Compliance Officer for NCIC, Wiseman Chibwezo said NCIC expects to have heath people in all areas where there are construction projects.

He said this is why the Council take the issue of HIV and aids very seriously knowing that communities in project sites have higher chances of interacting with road workers and in such a way form relationship that may lead to having sex and thus spreading the disease.

"We are here because of the Lirangwe-Chingale Road which is under construction by the Mota Engil. At the council we understand that when projects are being implemented in areas, people are overwhelmed with the people that are working in those projects.

"Therefore, our message today is simple, we appeal to communities to avoid forming relationships with those working on the roads and abstain from sexual activities," Chibwezo said.

Senior Group Village Headman Mkumba described the activity as important to the area saying the messages passed across would help in promoting good health of the people as they will now be able to make informed choices.

The open day in Lirangwe targeted those communities around the construction of the Lirangwe-Chingale road, citing such places as prone to HIV and AIDs.

During the event, people of the area had an opportunity to get tested for HIV.

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