The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) has launched an HIV and Aids awareness campaign in Dedza to contribute to the global goal of achieving zero new HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero Aids related deaths.
The campaign is specifically targeting the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Chilikumwendo in the district.
Speaking Wednesday during the launch of the campaign, Dean Henry Makawa, an assistant to Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe who heads ELCM, said the church has a mandate to improve the physical well-being of the people besides preaching the word of God to them.
“People make the church, which means all issues that affect the people are of the church’s concern. It is for that reason that the church’s leadership decided to join efforts with the government in the fight against the HIV epidemic which is taking a toll on Malawi’s population,” Makawa said.
Malawi’s HIV prevalence is one of the highest in the world, with statistics indicating that 10.3 percent of the country’s populace is living with the virus.
Makawa bemoaned the tendency by some men of God who stop their followers from taking antiretroviral drugs after praying for them, claiming to have healed them.
ELCM HIV and Aids projects coordinator Reverend Alick Msuku said they have trained young couples in the area to reach out to other couples with various HIV messages and encourage them to go for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). n