- A major limitation to healthcare provision in Malawi is the shortage of skilled healthcare workers – the vacancy rate for clinical staff is around 60 per cent.
- For many years Médecins Sans Frontières has been supporting the national health system to strengthen its HIV response through staff training and technical support and trying out innovative treatment models to reach more people with the virus.
- In August, Médecins Sans Frontières and the health authorities in Chiradzulu district began a four-year handover process of a programme that opened in 1997.
- Médecins Sans Frontières is implementing a UNITAID-funded project using point-of-care tests to measure CD4 count (the CD4 count is an indicator of an HIV patient’s immunity level) and viral loads (rather than sending samples away to be tested) in Chiradzulu.
- In Nsanje, Médecins Sans Frontières is supervising the implementation of a policy to put all HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women on ARVs, regardless of their clinical status, to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.
- The team is also developing a programme to treat tuberculosis (TB) in 14 health centres as a step towards integrated HIV–TB treatment.
- Médecins Sans Frontières is working to improve counselling, testing and treatment services for sex workers, couples in which only one person has HIV, adolescents, and people with advanced HIV.
- The handover to the Ministry of Health of first-line HIV treatment in Thyolo was completed in December 2013, but Médecins Sans Frontières teams continue to mentor local staff who provide second-line treatments and viral load testing to patients.
- Médecins Sans Frontières started a new project in two prisons: Maula in Lilongwe and Chichiri in Blantyre. Some 4,400 inmates and staff were screened for HIV, TB, hepatitis B and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Treatment was provided for HIV, TB and the STIs, and people were vaccinated against hepatitis B. Médecins Sans Frontières undertook other activities to improve and expand prison health services, including providing training scholarships to four prison staff, constructing consultation rooms, pharmacies and laboratories as well as supporting general outpatient services.
- In 2014, a project offering testing for HIV and STIs to truck drivers and commercial sex workers began in Mwanza and Zalewa, near the border with Mozambique.
For the latest news on where we work visit: http://activityreport.msf.org/
Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in the country since 1986 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 586 staff in Malawi.