AfroCAB Empowers Nsanje Communities to Demand HIV/AIDS Services

Parents and guardians whose children are on Anti Retro-viral Therapy (ART) in Nsanje, are now able to demand various HIV services from the district's ART providers.

An International NGO, AfroCAB, is raising awareness on treatment in various parts of the country including Nsanje, which is said to have had a huge impact.

The district's HIV/AIDS Coordinator, MacKnowledge Tembo, told Zodiak on Saturday, "people are able to demand services ranging from viral load and ART regimen that their children are taking.

"Even when they see these other complications, they are able to come forward and meet ART providers in various facilities, so this is a very positive mark in as far as HIV services are concerned."

John Magadzire from Nyathando village in the area of Traditional Authority Nyachikadza, whose two female twins aged 4, are on ART, told Zodiak, "I demanded a switch from the previous regimen which was so hard to swallow to the new drug, PDTG.

"My children have no issues with the new drug, they are now healthy, their viral suppression is impressive."

The NGO's Community Advisory Board Member, Deidre Madise, says the impact has so far really been good.

"We have had a lot of support from the Ministry of Health through the Department of HIV/AIDS (DHA). Our main goal is to raise awareness and as result of awareness create demand.

"We work with the responsible authorities who provide the information we share out there, the DHA gives us the technical input and technical knowhow.

"Wherever we find gaps and challenges we take them back to the DHA and the DHA has always been vigilant to respond to those challenges," explained Madise.

She further added, "apart from the two little girls whose suppression medics say is almost at 95 percent, we have had a case of one lady whose kid was being overdosed, the kid was getting two more drugs contrary to their weight, so we immediately took the issue with DHA and addressed it immediately.

"We also had an issue here, we were told that rolling out of PDTG was 100 percent, but during our engagement we found out that one part of the T/A did not know about this new drug PDTG.

"And when we made it known to the Ministry of Health, they reacted immediately and PDTG was rolled out in that area, they gave us feedback and things are moving so well. We have been following with parents and guardians.

"We owe this to the Ministry of Health, we are advocates so this does not mean that the Ministry of Health is our enemy."

On Saturday, AFROCAB officials engaged communities in Nsanje for an insight on existing gaps with regard to access to PDTG drug among others.

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