Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has emphasized that scaling up access to youth friendly services on sexual reproductive health by the health facilities is pivotal in the fight against HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Chiponda made the remarks yesterday in Balaka district where the country commemorated the International AIDS candlelight memorial day, in remembrance of the people who lost their lives to the pandemic but also as a sign of solidarity to the people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Minister expressed concern that youths in the country continue to be vulnerable to HIV and AIDS because they do not have a conducive environment in as far as access to sexual reproductive health services is concerned.
She said: “It is worrisome to note that the youths are deprived of appropriate information and services on sexual reproductive health. This is because most of the youths shun help on sexual reproductive health issues as they feel unwelcome in the hospitals.”
“Health facilities should therefore consider scaling up youth friendly services for instance, by conducting mobile clinics so that they reach out to as many youths as possible,” she added.
In his remarks, National AIDS Commission (NAC) member of the Board of Commissioners, Lawrence Yobe, indicated that the country is making positive strides in the fight against the pandemic, despite of some challenges which among others comes from some religious leaders who discourages their followers from taking life prolonging drugs -ARV’s.
According to Yobe, statistics shows that most of the HIV and AIDS related deaths accounts to those who stopped taking the drug along the way due to their religious beliefs.
However, Yobe says macro indicators for HIV and AIDS are showing that Malawi has made significant efforts in the fight against the pandemic as evidenced by the decline in the statistics of new HIV/AIDS infections annually.
“At around 2010, we were having about 56,000 new HIV and AIDS infections but the numbers have significantly dropped down because by 2021 we are having about 20,000 new infections per year,” he said.
Yobe also pointed out that the Commission’s strategy wants to see to it that by 2030 issues of HIV and AIDS should not be a public health concern.
The NAC Commissioner has therefore called upon all the stakeholders to jointly work together if the fight against the pandemic is to be won.
This year’s commemorations were under the theme, “We remember, We take action, We live beyond HIV.”
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