Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (Manerela+) has urged the clergy to be in the forefront in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the virus.
Speaking in Dedza last week during a three-day training of faith leaders on PMTCT, Manerela+ programmes manager Harold Kachepatsonga said they are implementing AidsFree project in partnership with Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) and IMA World Health (US-faith-based organisation) with support from United States Agency for International Development.
“The AidsFree project focuses on PMTCT and targets faith leaders to champion PMTCT because they have got a large constituency they serve as almost 90 percent of Malawians belong to one faith group or another,” he said.
Kachepatsonga said faith leaders are good on confidentiality and building their capacity on PMTCT enhances information dissemination at no cost.
IMA World Health coordinator Rebecca Waugh said the project will improve quality and effectiveness of the high-impact, evidence-based HIV and Aids interventions to meet the country’s specific goals and objectives.
“The training will equip faith leaders with knowledge on PMTCT and how they can collect and analyse data from the interventions they will implement in their respective churches and areas,” Waugh said.
Manerela+ has over 6 000 religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and Aids and exists to fight stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction.