OVER 3,000 of the 5,000 people who stopped taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in Nsanje have been re-admitted to continue taking the treatment.
In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, HIV/TB Director for Jhpiego HIV Expansion Program Dr Zingani Chirwa attributed the development to the involvement of expert clients who have been tracking antiretroviral treatment defaulters in the district.
Chirwa said their organisation identified and trained 142 expert clients who created a link between the health facility and the community.
The expert clients are said to make follow-ups on people who are no longer taking treatment or those who miss appointments.
“Once the expert clients get the details of those that are no longer taking treatment form the health centres they go into the community, look for them and once they find them, they counsel them and bring them back to care. This has been a success as over 3,000 people have been retained out of 5,000 who were no longer taking treatment,” explained Chirwa.
He attributes the success to community engagement.
“We have now realised that if you don’t involve the community in any programme which you are trying to run, it is probably going to fail. You have to make the communities own the programme so that they can be involved as has been the case with our intervention in the retention of those who were refraining from taking ART treatment,” said Dr Chirwa.
In his remarks on the development, Nsanje District Health Officer Dr Alexander Chijuwa acknowledged the positive development, saying Jhpiego’s intervention have yielded positive results in readmitting ART defaulters.
“As a district, we had a high ART default rate. With the coming in of the Jhpiego programme, it has helped to retain more than 3,000 ART defaulters. We have been facing hurdles to find these defaulters so that they can go back to ART treatment. This is a positive development in achieving the 90-90-90 initiative by 2030,” he said.— Mana
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