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MSF in Malawi, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 466
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Malawi »
In Malawi, MSF’s work has been devoted to people suffering with HIV/AIDS, where a dire shortage of health workers and sparsely spread populations in rural areas make the delivery of HIV treatment extremely challenging. MSF is supporting implementation of the national AID S plan and has tried innovative approaches to increase the capacity for care.
Involvement of the community and people living with HIV is central to MSF’s intervention. Patients and community members have been specifically trained to take over some of the nurses’ duties including testing, counseling and providing support to help people adhere to their treatment. Involving community members in this way means that nurses can focus purely on medical issues and therefore better cope with the acute staff shortage affecting Malawi’s health sector.
In the rural areas of Chiradzulu and Thyolo, MSF has been involved in the training of nurses, who are now able to initiate people on treatment, a job previously performed only by doctors. Shifting tasks and intense training of care providers have allowed patients to be followed closer to where they live through smaller health structures, or at home, without having to travel to hospitals for drugs and check-ups.
MSF also strongly focuses on detecting and treating both tuberculosis (TB) and malnutrition in HIV patients. Both conditions jeopardize the efficiency of treatment, and ultimately the lives of the patients. In 2006 MSF admitted over 400 people for TB treatment.
In the central district of Dowa, teams provide a wide range of HIV/AIDS services at the district hospital and two health centers, as well as preventive activities in five more health centers in the district. In addition, in a camp in Dzaleka, MSF provides basic HIV/AIDS care to refugees coming from different African countries. Support groups have also been created for HIV-positive children and adults, with high attendance.
In July 2007, MSF is providing anti-retroviral drugs to approximately 15,000 people in the country and almost 700 people are starting treatment in an MSF structure every month.
MSF has worked in Malawi since 1986.