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Thyolo NGO CCDO Fights Stigma and Discrimination in Accessing ART Amid Covid-19

By Elizabeth Mandala, Mana

CHIWAYULA: In the wake of Covid19, the minority groups were at high risk of new infection

Chipembere Community Development Organization (CCDO), Executive Director Dalitso Chiwayula has urged Government and key stakeholders to work together in addressing challenges facing marginalized population including minority groups in accessing Health Services amid covid19.

The director was speaking this on Wednesday during an advocacy meeting with policy makers and health services Providers at Bvumbwe, Thyolo in Blantyre.

Chiwayula observed that in the wake of Covid19, the minority groups were at high risk of new infections due to some restricting conditions when seeking health services which do not often meet their health needs.

“The key populations Living with HIV do not easily access health services including HIV/Aids prevention and Covid19 information due to stigma and discrimination, and increased cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

“Unfriendly attitude by some health service providers keep the key populations away from seeking health services. Therefore, instead of preventing new infections including Covid19, a certain section of our society lack information and because is left unattended and thus unknowingly spreading the virus,” he explained.

Concurring with Chiwayula, one of the beneficiaries from the key population attending advocacy meeting who sought for anonymity, complained that he often did not visit the health facility because most health workers were not approachable and often ask questions that make him reluctant to go for health services.

Responding to these remarks, a Clinical Officer at Bvumbwe Health Centre, Madalitso Banda said one of the challenges restricting the provision of quality health services at the health facility was lack of a special private room designated for such key populations and medicine for Sexually transmitted infections (STI) treatment.

“We must admit that sometimes we send back members of such special groups seeking treatment at the health center because we are running out of stock for STI medicine, and despite reporting the issue to the district health authorities, takes long to get a feedback,” said Banda, sending out an SOS to the responsible authorities at the district level.

CCDO is implementing the project called “Accelerating Access to ART in response to Covid19” in Thyolo district under Covid19 Rapid Response Fund with financial support from Frontline AIDS in United Kingdom. Mana/em

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