Health projects / Malawi / HIV/AIDS Program

HIV/AIDS Program

 

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According to UNAIDS, approximately 980,000 Malawians are living with HIV.  The prevalence rate among adults age 15-49 is 9.1 percent.  In 2015, 27,000 Malawians died from complications of HIV/AIDS leaving behind an estimated 530,000 orphans.  Among migrant populations such as fishermen, construction workers, and merchants, the prevalence of HIV infection can be much higher.  As a trading center which is a hub for fisheries and agricultural commerce, Lifuwu's population is much more likely to be affected by HIV/AIDS.  Furthermore, HIV/AIDS is often poorly or misunderstood which leads to stigma and isolation for people living with HIV in Lifuwu. _DSC5144

 The health center’s Tingathe Youth and Drama Club partners with help2kids to hold performances and events that involve dramas, games, songs, and other activities that engage the community and teach things such as HIV prevention and tolerance among other topics.  

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help2kids also partners with the Majis Ulmah HIV/AIDS Council to hold meetings to promote the idea of “Positive Living”, which encourages people living with HIV to talk openly about their infection to break down barriers and reduce stigma.  Positive living also promotes good nutrition, and a positive attitude to improve the quality of life for those living with HIV.  These meetings often feature presentations from health center staff and performances by Tingathe Youth and Drama Club.

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In 2015, help2kids finished construction on a new health center building funded by Konda Ku Lifuwu, a group founded by former help2kids volunteers.  Prior to the opening of this new building, HIV and tuberculosis services were offered together in a single cramped room. 

 

The new building has separate sides for tuberculosis and HIV services and provides antiretroviral therapy for about 800 people.  This live-saving treatment lowers the amount of HIV in the patient’s body, boosting their immune system and increasing their length and quality of their lives.  The building is surrounded by a fence for privacy and features a beautiful, uplifting mural painted by a help2kids volunteer.

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The Role of the Volunteer

The energetic and engaging drama club is always happy to include help2kids volunteers in their rehearsals and performances and loves to improvise.  Volunteers are welcome to offer ideas and introduce new games and activities.  When working with the drama club, volunteers get the opportunity to build close relationships with community members and jumpstart their ChiChewa abilities!

More healthcare oriented volunteers can assist with ART distribution days at the HIV side of the new building, under the direction of the health center staff.

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