Deborah Chirwa and Improving Access to Health Services

Deborah Chirwa, aged 24, lives in Sanga with her husband and two children, aged 6 and 1. She says, “As a woman with kids, I had difficulties when it came to accessing health services,” and most women she knows walk up to 24km to the nearest health centre in Nkhata Bay North. As a result, pregnant women and women with young children often do not access health services at all. 

Deborah with her two children

This year, Deborah’s community chief reached out to Temwa for support in providing outreach clinics facilitated under Temwa’s HIV project. Now, she is able to access outreach clinic services on a monthly basis. 

“My first born child, who is now 6 years, has managed to access all under 5 services which I know will be the same for my second child.”

She says that mothers are attending these clinics in large numbers, and they are able to track their children’s health through frequent advice and guidance from health providers. Due to long distances from the health centres, the community lacks access to STI preventive measures including condoms. By improving this access, Temwa is helping reduce cases of STIs including HIV. 

In Malawi the HIV prevalence rate is at 8% (UNAIDS) – for comparison the UK’s HIV prevalence is 0.1% of the population (UKGov), highlighting global inequality regarding access to adequate healthcare. It is crucial that improvements are made to support families access to treatment and raise awareness of sexual health. 

Temwa’s work with the community to increase knowledge on HIV/AIDS continues alongside a push for more outreach clinics. Giving access to HIV testing and supporting families like Deborah’s is to key to tackling the spread of STIs in the region.

“I would like to thank Temwa for this outreach clinic initiative, because it does not only benefit our children but as women we are able to access other health services.”

Read more about our HIV project in our latest report here

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