Palliative Care Association of Malawi (Pacam) last weekend handed over bicycles, laptop bags and cell phones worthy over K1.5 million to 20 community facilitators for HIV support groups in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Somba in Blantyre.
Speaking during the hand-over ceremony, Pacam Executive Director Lameck Thambo encouraged those on Antiretroviral (ARV) Therapy to adhere to treatment so that they continue enjoying healthy lives and prevent transmitting the virus to others.
He said the donation funded by Usaid through Counterpart is to enable community facilitators reach out to many in the area thereby ensuring maximum care and support to both the infected and affected.
The association has 38 support groups with 45 members each in T/A Somba’s catchment area.
Explained Thambo: “Through these support groups many people are testing for HIV and are being put on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). Community facilitators monitor adherence to ART and give spiritual and psychosocial support to both the infected and affected. This is to ensure that they do not lose hope.”
One of the Community facilitators Dorothy Mtuwana thanked the association for the support saying it will go a long way in minimizing mobility and communication challenges which they have been facing.
Mtuwana called for more support especially on food assistance saying many people that are living with HIV are not benefiting from safety nets projects such as the social cash transfer initiative or free food distribution exercise being carried out in the area.
“Discrimination is still rampant when it comes to community participation in public works and other benefits, support groups are not given priority when it comes to these programmes as some say those who are HIV positive are weak and cannot work.
“We therefore appeal to authorities to do something about this because we have come across many cases whereby some are defaulting ART saying they cannot take strong medicine without food,” said Mtuwana.