A traditional leader in Phalombe has urged organisations to take HIV testing services to her area so that many villagers should get tested.
Group Village Head woman (GVH) Chiopsa said this in an interview after a meeting organised by Thandizo Community Based Organisation (CBO) aimed at exploring problems affecting their area.
The GVH said she knows that many of her people do not know their status as the nearest health centres are far away from the area and she asked if HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) services can be brought to the area.
We have observed that many people may have the HIV but they dont know due to a long distance to the health centre where they can seek the HTC services and besides many feel shy.
It would be good if these people knew whether they have it or not so that if they are positive they should start getting ARVs, she said.
Chiopsa added that cases of children dropping out from school and getting into marriage are also rampant in her area and she asked organisations to intervene as soon as possible.
Community Development Assistant for the area, Alick Chakwawa Banda, commended the CBO for inviting members of the community to see problems they are facing and on how they will solve them.
This is very important since when screening problems you require multi-sector approach so that every member of the community should get involved. It is good that now they know which problems they are facing and from now onwards every member of this community will know purposes of whatever they will be doing, said Banda.
Programs Coordinator for the CBO, Vincent Thom, said they will now sit down to find out what is causing the rapid spread of HIV in order to know how the community can help and to ask government and other organisations to help.
During the discussions, it emerged that the spread of the HIV topped all the problems the area is facing. Other challenges included child marriages and lack of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.