1st December 2017 marks International AIDS Day. A global event for people to unite in the fight against HIV, support those living with HIV and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illness.
Temwa have a range of programmes which aim not only to test and treat individuals for HIV and AIDS but also educate, support and raise awareness. Currently, Temwa is working in over 130 villages across Nkhata Bay North. Ensuring that rural communities, in hard to reach areas, have access to a wealth of support and information.
In 2015, Malawi was one of the first African countries to sign up to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy, a treatment based target aiming to reduce the prevalence of HIV around the world. On this important day, we reflect on how Temwa’s work is helping the Malawian government to achieve these goals.
Goal 1: 90% of all people living with HIV know their status
The first barrier for individuals to know their status in Nkhata Bay North is the limited access to testing services. As such, Temwa run mobile clinics with Government certified counsellors, who are trained to test and provide all HIV services. These clinics operate in areas where such services are usually unavailable. Since July 2017, Temwa has tested 836 individuals in 12 hard to reach locations.
Raising awareness and encouraging individuals to get tested is also of central importance. Scorpion Peer Educator Drama Group, comprised entirely of fantastic volunteers, perform and create dramas about HIV. They encourage their peers to get tested, inform communities about prevention methods and fight to dispel stigma around the virus. Since July 2017, Temwa’s Peer Educators have performed to 2,755 during 12 dramas shows.
‘Drama attracts more people at a time. They get more information, rather than using social media, as not everyone can access and afford social media. We communicate in our local language’
– Allan (member of the Scorpion drama group)
In addition to training peer educators, Temwa also organises film screenings. These videos similarly tackle issues around testing and inform communities about relevant treatments and their importance. Since July, 627 people have attended these screenings.
Goal 2: 90% of all people living with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy
Our mobile clinics run on a ‘Test and Treat’ model, which integrate all HIV services. If someone discovers a positive status, they are given a referral slip straight away – giving them access to free Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) from the health centre.
Beyond medical treatment, Temwa also run 4 teen clubs and 8 support groups which provide a safe platform for members to discuss their status. The importance of treatment and the experience of taking ART’s is a central discussion. Since July 2017, Temwa’s teen clubs have had, on average, 90 members.
Goal 3: 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression
People not taking their medication is a challenge for healthcare providers in Nkhata Bay North. Emphasising the importance of Antiretroviral Treatment is a core aim for Temwa. Through the Straight Talking Programme, teen clubs and support groups discuss and educate members on the importance maintaining treatment.
What is more, guardians also attended teen club meetings, allowing families to have open discussions about HIV and AIDs. A range of topics is raised in these meetings, all of which aim to help HIV positive teens to live healthy lifestyles.
‘A number of kids are getting healthy with the support from Temwa and the hospital’ A guardian attending a Teen Club
Through education about prevention and the provision of support services, Temwa strives to complement the Government’s efforts to fulfil the 90-90-90 strategy. Overall working to ensure the rural communities of Nkhata Bay North are able to live healthily and happily no matter what their status.
If you would like to support people to prevent the spread of and to live positively with HIV in the communities we serve, give today.