NAC orients stakeholders to utilize HIV and AIDS structures to fight both COVID-19 and HIV

The National AIDS Commission (NAC) has embarked on a national exercise to orient stakeholders to use decentralized HIV and AIDS structures to fight the novel COVID-19 which is caused by Corona Virus while sustaining its fight against HIV and AIDS.

Speaking during the orientation of stakeholders from networks of various community structures drawn from Lilongwe Rural and Lilongwe Urban at the Lilongwe City Council Civic Offices on Thursday, 11th June 2020, Chairperson of the NAC Board of Commissioners, Jones Chikoko Nkhoma, said as an institution with a proven track record in managing pandemics, NAC was well positioned to integrate the fight against COVID-19 and HIV.

Considering the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly just like the HIV and AIDS pandemic in its early days, we have been prompted to look back at the effectiveness and resilience of the local structures in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic and we are now re-engaging them to fight both HIV and AIDS as well as COVID-19,” he said.

“This is the reason we have all gathered here so that we work together to repurpose these local structures so as to effectively respond to COVID-19 in addition to HIV and AIDS in order to save lives and sustain economic activities that impact our communities. A healthy citizen is a productive citizen,” he added.

Chikoko Nkhoma said, like HIV and AIDS in its early days, the COVID-19 pandemic has been characterised by misinformation on a number of issues, including the mode of transmission, treatment as well as stigma and discrimination.

As of the 16th June 2020, Malawi had registered 564 total confirmed cases of COVID 19 with 73 total recoveries and 6 total deaths. This meant there were 485 total active cases in the country on that day.

Speaking earlier, Lilongwe City Council Director of Administration, Mussa Mwale, said the use of decentralised HIV and AIDS structures in fighting COVID-19 was welcome as they had proven effective in combating the HIV and AIDS scourge.

“The emerging COVID-19 pandemic has paralysed a wide range of sectors and has not spared the cities. Lilongwe is among the epicentres of the disease in the country and conducting the debut orientation in the City is very welcome,” he said.

He added: “We have been using the Lilongwe City AIDS Coordinating Committee in fighting the HIV and AIDS epidemic and have worked with a number of community structures in achieving this. With this orientation, we are counting on those organisations to take the challenge of managing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The orientation session also drew officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Health, Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organisation (MANASO), Malawi Network of People Living with HIV (MANET+), National Association of People Living with HIV in Malawi (NAPHAM) as well as Malawi National Association of the Deaf (MANAD).

NAC will conduct the orientation of COVID-19 response using decentralised HIV and AIDS structures in partnership with the Health Education Unit in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, MANASO, MANET+, NAPHAM as well as MANAD.


Posted on Jun 17, 2020 Written By Karen Msiska