Malawi: New HIV Prevention Strategic Plan Aims At Zero Infections
Lilongwe — The re-invigorating HIV prevention symposium which took place in Lilongwe has high lightened the need to accommodate the discriminated sex workers and men having sex with fellow men in order to reduce prevalence rate in the country.
The Principle Secretary in the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet Edith Mkawa has advised young people in the country to take an active role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Mkawa was speaking during the closing of a- three-day international conference on re-invigorating HIV prevention in Malawi at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC) in Lilongwe.
In a separate interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) Mkawa said the deliberations has revised elements which were missing in the expired strategic plan which are incorporated to effectively improve and implement the national HIV/AIDS strategic plan.
"What was missing was coordination of response and focusing of our energies on interventions," Mkawa said, adding that the symposium was looking at things that worked and what did not work with the expired strategy.
She said the meeting was a success because they are going to incorporate new areas and would change the targeted areas that will enable allocation of resources. "The symposium highlights the new areas which were not incorporated in the former HIV prevention strategy," said Mkawa.
She furthermore said, the deliberations have high-lightened the excluded population groups to provide them with precautions of preventing the virus.
Mkawa said one of the areas they want to incorporate in the strategy is such as men having sex with fellow men and sex workers.
She said, "This is the case because we want to control these groupings to avoid going under-ground. We should rather provide them with precaution measures so that they should be able to protect themselves and their partners."
The PS however, called upon young people from across the nation to join Young People Living with HIV Association in order to participate in the fight against the pandemic and to adapt change.
"It is important that these young people should participate in this association since it will give hope to those discriminated and stigmatized due to the pandemic," Mkawa said.
The Co-Lead Facilitator of UNFPA Humphreys Shumba concurred with the PS that the key populations were sidelined in the expired HIV prevention strategic plan.
BY EVANS SONGWE PHIRI