UNAIDS has praised Malawi efforts in the fight against HIV and Aids, saying the country has potential to completely eradicate the epidemic.
UNAIDS Country Representative for China Amakobe Sande spoke when she paid a courtesy call on Malawi First Lady Gertrude Mutharika in Beijing where the First Lady and President Peter Mutharika are attending the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-FOCAC Summit.
According to Sande, Malawi is making significant strides in its quest to reduce the HIV prevalence rate and new infections, based on reports that the prevalence rate among adults is 9.2 percent.
“It may not seem like you are not making an impact, but we at UNAIDS, recognize your efforts and really commend Malawi for this,” said Sande.
She said UNAIDS will continue rendering support to Malawi so that the country is able to meet her 2020 UNAIDS 90-90-90 target.
“In this target, the UNAIDS hopes that countries will be able to have 90 percent of people with HIV knowing their status, 90 percent of these accessing ARVS and 90 percent of those on treatment being virally suppressed. And from what I have seen so far, Malawi is working towards that,” she said.
In her remarks, the First Lady said she was grateful for the commendation by UNAIDS and the organisation’s continued support to Malawi’s HIV and Aids programs.
She said Malawi is where it is now in the fight against Aids, largely due to the support she gets from UNAIDS.
“We have made these strides because the UNAIDS has consistently supported our programs. As a country, we are looking forward to meeting the 2020 UNAIDS targets,” said Mutharika.
She said the rate of new infections is decreasing.
“Currently, the rate of new HIV infections is going down and this can be attributed to programs and interventions that Malawi is implementing with support from institutions such as UNAIDS, the Global Fund and others,” said Mutharika.
Recent statistics indicate that the prevalence rate among the youth aged 15-49 years has declined from a peak of 16.7 percent in 1999 to 10 percent in 2016.
The rate of new infections is also steadily decreasing from 98,000 infections in 2005 to 36,000 new infections in 2016 and 68 percent of adults are on anti-retroviral treatment.
While in China, the Malawi First Lady is also expected to attend a conference for First Ladies on Aids Prevention and Control which will be hosted by the Chinese First Lady Professor Peng Liyuan.