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‘Demonstrations affecting HIV patients’

By Faith Kadzanja:

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY— Demonstrators express their constitutional right

Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (Miaa) has said political instability in the country is negatively affecting people living with HIV and Aids, citing failure to access antiretroviral therapy (ART) services.

The organisation’s acting executive director, Pirira Ndaferankhande, said the organisation had received reports of cases where people on ART have been failing to travel to public health facilities to access services.

“For example, in districts such as Rumphi, Mchinji and Kasungu, people who are on ART are failing to go to public facilities to get medication, especially on days when demonstrations are taking place.

“Considering that ART services are not supposed to be interrupted, the [political] situation is putting lives of people living with HIV at risk. The disruption of government business means trouble for people living with HIV,” Ndaferankhande said.

Meanwhile, women’s rights activist Mirriam Kanyamula has urged stakeholders in national development to protect the healthcare service delivery system from disruptions that could spell death for innocent citizens.

Miaa leaders said they were organising prayers in the country’s administrative regions for peace to prevail.

Civil society organisations have been holding anti- Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah demonstrations for her to resign for allegedly mishandling the May 21 Tripartite Elections. The first round of demonstrations took place on June 20, followed by another round on July 4 and last week Friday.

Ansah recently described the calls as “mob justice”.

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