Candlelight Memorial commemorated at Nasawa

 

Hundreds of Malawians descended on Nasawa Technical College ground in Zomba on Sunday to commemorate this year’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM).

 

IACM is commemorated the world over to remember those that died from AIDS and renew commitment to fight the pandemic as well as stigma and discrimination among those infected and affected by it on the third Sunday of May every year.

But Malawi did not commemorate the event that time as the day was too close to the day the country was scheduled to hold Tripartite Elections. However, the country maintained the global theme of “Intensifying the fight for Health and Rights”.

 

Events marking the day included the lighting of a giant candle by the Guest of Honour, Dr Charles Mwansambo, who is also Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Population, and smaller ones by other dignitaries.

 

There were also testimonies by a couple living with HIV, traditional dances and poems—all reflecting the theme of the day.

 

Mwansambo hailed partners in the National Response for their efforts to reduce the impact of the pandemic in the country; however, he stated that more needed to still be done to achieve the UNAIDS Fast Track 90:90:90 targets by the year 2030.

 

Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission Board of Commissioners, Jones Chikoko Nkhoma, said with a number of its policies, including the Test-and-Teat strategy, the country has remarkably reduced AIDS-related deaths from over 64,000 a year to an estimated 12,900 in 2018.

 

He said with the reinvigoration of NAC’s mandate through a restructuring process initiated by the enactment of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act, the country can only expect more strides.

 

Malawi is currently using the 13A Anti-Viral Treatment regimen. The regimen took over from the 5A which was used between January 2014 and December 2018.

 

The event was officially coordinated by Malawi Network of People Living with HIV (MANET+) in collaboration with NAC—as the provider of leadership and coordination in the National Response to HIV and AIDS—as well as the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Ministry of Health and Population.

 

Posted on Jul 21, 2019 Written By Karen Msiska