The Episcopal Conference of Malawi Through the Health and Communication Commissions has called for increased involvement of Men in HIV and AIDS testing, Treatment and Treatment adherence in the fight against the pandemic in Machinga and Mangochi Districts, under the Faith and Community Initiative (FCI) project.
Health Programmes Coordinator from Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Mariana Nyawenda has pointed out that men have poor health-seeking behavior as compared to women, hence the ECM’s advocacy to encourage them to test for HIV & AIDS, and seek treatment if found positive.
“We are calling upon all men and boys to go for HIV testing, this project is targeting men and boys because research shows that only a small percentage of men go for HIV testing as compared to women and girls in the districts in question and we tend to help Increase the number of men and boys who go for HIV testing and adhere to treatment,” Said Nyawenda.
Nyawenda however said FCI is meeting challenges in its work including the shortage of Oraquick in the health facilities which affects ECM’s distribution target.
“We are also being challenged by the use of fake names, phone numbers and physical addresses by clients found positive which renders difficulties in tracing them and the COVID -19 pandemic also challenges the dissemination of messages of hope to our target audience,” added Nyawenda.
The initiative is mainly being implemented in Traditional Authority Kawinga and Liwonde in Machinga district and Traditional Authority Nankumba and Chilipa in Mangochi districts.
The project aims to reach 7000 Men and Boys aged 15-24 with messages of Hope and to distribute 10,000 oral HIV self-test kits in Mangochi and Machinga districts by July 2021