As the country makes strides in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and Aids, statistics indicate that men in Blantyre are not fully participating in the initiatives.
Blantyre district health officer (DHO) Chrissy Banda said in an interview only seven out of 100 men accompany their spouses to Under Five clinics.
She said this during a sensitisation meeting for PMTCT issues by Sustainable Rural Growth and Development Initiative (SRGDI) held Sunday at Chikuli in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kunthembwe in Blantyre.
“Much as we seem to be making progress in protecting unborn babies from contracting HIV from their mothers, there is still a huge resistance from men to participate in efforts to scale down transmission. That is why as Blantyre DHO, we are encouraging initiatives that will help men understand their role. This will help us achieve a 100 percent prevention rate we are aiming at,” Banda said.
SRGDI organised a social event that featured sporting activities such as football and netball to attract men to appreciate PMTCT messages from role models in a bid to entice men to get on board.
During the day, Big Bullets Football Club and Flames veteran midfielder Fischer Kondowe was used as an ambassador to call men to action on PMTCT.
Said Kondowe: “As men we can make a big difference if we accompany our spouses to Under-Five clinics and take part in all required tests and processes.”
The calls were echoed by SRGDI executive director Menard Nyirenda, who said his organisation had put up several strategies to ensure that men are aware of their role in PMTCT issues.
According to a 2014 Progress Report on the Global Plan of 2014, Malawi achieved a 67 percent decline of new HIV infections among children aged 0 to 14. n