US Ambassador at-large Deborah Birx has named Malawi a global star performer for taking bold decisions to roll back HIV infections, but government has to regain donor confidence to save the success.
Speaking when her delegation met President Peter Mutharika at Sanjika Palace yesterday, the coordinator of US government activities to combat HIV and Aids commended the country for pioneering the displaying of its statistics on the worldwide web as well as providing swift testing and treatment for pregnant women living with the virus.
Since 2011, Option B+, the country’s treatment cascade for pregnant women, has increased the proportion of women with HIV who are diagnosed from 49 to 80 percent and those with suppressed viral load has jumped from just two to 48 percent.
Birx said: “We came to Malawi to learn and we will continue partnering with the Head of State and investing in the national response because the country has registered tremendous successes.”
The mission to Sanjika, which included US Ambassador Virginia Parmer and envoys of the Global Fund, US Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and Girls Not Brides movement, discussed how to further reduce the burden of the pandemic.
Mutharika said the bulging youthful population, which accounts for over 60 out of 100 Malawians, cannot continue being left behind in the fight.
Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume echoed the US delegation’s sentiments, saying: “There is no other country in the world which is doing better than us in the fight against HIV and Aids.”
Almost 901 000 Malawians are living with HIV, but nearly 533 000 of them are receiving antiretroviral treatment which is credited with saving nearly 260 000 lives since 2004.