, 18 September, 2020 / 8:10 PM
The Catholic Diocese of Chikwawa in Malawi, through its Social Services Directorate, has launched an HIV/AIDS project aimed to reduce infections among children born with the virus and youth living with it in the Southeastern African country.
Dubbed “Ana Patsogolo” (APA), the project has the purpose of preventing new HIV infections and reducing vulnerability among Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in the country.
In an interview with Malawi’s Nyasa Times, the Project Assistant Manager, Lewis Msiyadungu said that the 5 years Project is targeting at least 10,000 OVC and AGYW aged between zero to eighteen.
"We will facilitate assessment of HIV positive children and women in the age range of zero to eighteen. We will work with schools, community groups, and faith-based networks,” Mr. Msiyadungu says in the Friday, September 18 report.
He adds, “We are also addressing cases of sexual violence and GBV among OVC and AGYW”, which are quite alarming in the district as well as enhancing “child protection systems by building the capacity of local organizations.”
Statistics indicate that at 8.9 percent as of 2019, Malawi is one of the top ten countries with highest number of HIV prevalence in Africa, coming after Eswatini (Swaziland), which has 27 percent, Lesotho at 22 percent, and Botswana at 20 percent among other countries on the continent.
UNAIDS also indicates that of all adults aged 15 years and over living with HIV, 79 percent are on treatment, while only 61 percent of children aged 0–14 years living with HIV are on treatment.
The Chikwawa Diocesan project seeks to, among others, build capacity for caregivers, vulnerable families and health workers to collaboratively look into the plight of the OVC and ADYW.
Commenting on the development, the District Director of Planning and Development, Thokozire Ngwira expressed high hopes about the project saying the district is already alarmed with high cases of GBV and rapid spread of HIV.
She also urged district stakeholders to render all needed support towards a smooth implementation of the project.
The APA project is being implemented with support from USAID and the country’s President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa