Malawi: MSF Records Impact in Response to HIV

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has reported that it enrolled a total of 55,000 people who tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for its Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) programme in Chiradzulu, Malawi.

Development Diaries reports that Malawi has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world with 990,000 people living with the virus, according to 2021 data from UNAIDS.

Announcing the close of its 25-year-old HIV/AIDS project in Malawi, MSF noted that the project has helped pave the way to advocate for cheaper drug prices and ensure access to ART in low-income countries.

‘In July 2023, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) closed the chapter on one of our longest-standing projects in Malawi, launched some 25 years ago in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic’, it said in a statement.

‘We first began HIV/AIDS prevention and control activities in Malawi in 1994 in the district of Mwanza before expanding to Chiradzulu in 1997, where 20 per cent of the district’s adults were estimated to be HIV-positive’.

Malawi has been badly impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, just like other nations in the sub-Saharan area.

Epidemiological, morbidity, and mortality data demonstrate that the AIDS epidemic has been quickly growing since the first case was discovered in May 1985.

A report by USAID revealed that in 1998 it was estimated that 735,000 Malawians were infected with the HIV virus.

According to UNAIDS, some 86,000 people died of AIDS-related causes in Malawi in 2001.

According to MSF, before 2001, no HIV treatment was available in the country and medical action regarding people suffering from AIDS was limited to the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections.

In August 2001, MSF started a programme to provide free access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) at Chiradzulu’s district hospital.

‘After over 20 years of collaboration with MSF, Chiradzulu district health authorities and their partners fully took over all patients and activities between 2022 and 2023, ensuring the continuity of HIV treatment and care’, the MSF noted.

The organisation also noted that its collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Health contributed to shaping policies and guidelines in Malawi on the care and treatment of people living with HIV.

Photo source: UNICEF


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