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The Health Programme

| CENTRE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE

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The CEDEP Health department operationalises the organization’s Strategic goal number 1; thus, Improve HIV and Health Related Services for LGBTI.

The overall goal of this strategic intervention area is to contribute towards reaching zero new HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination, zero HIV related deaths and reduction of other sexually transmitted infections among sexual minorities in Malawi.

CEDEP realized that without the involvement of the LGBTI in the 90:90:90 campaign in Malawi, it will be difficult to attain the targets. The organization is aiming at increased friendly health services accessibility and availability for LGBTI and other vulnerable groups.

The department leverages Malawi Government’s efforts in combating HIV & AIDS as proposed in the new National HIV Strategic Plan (2015-2020) (NSP) and National HIV Prevention Strategy (2015-2020) (NPS). It implements a combination of prevention interventions for key populations in order to contribute to the reduction of new infections in Malawi, and achieve the 90-90-90 targets of the new NSP among men who have sex with other men (MSM) to increase demand and access to services for biomedical interventions.

In 2017, CEDEP continued supporting the four Drop In Centres (DICs) for MSM in Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Mangochi and Blantyre under the LINKAGES Project. All the DICs are stoked with items for recreation such as; gym sets, indoor games like chess, bawo and a pool table. They also have TV sets being subscribed to the Multi-choice DSTV services, and Wi-Fi internet services that are free to all DIC users. The DICs are also stocked with some essential drugs and other medical supplies.

The ideal set up is that the DICs should be used as stand-alone clinics where, in addition to recreation and getting reproductive health information, MSM clients can get all HTC and STI screening and treatment services. Currently, the DICs are used as outreach clinics for the respective District Health Offices where HTC and STI screening and treatment are offered on designated dates.

In 2017, CEDEP produced and distributed a total of 1300 T-Shirts to clients and Health Service Providers; 1000 under EJAF and 300 under the UNICEF funded project in an effort to disseminate information about MSM clients’ access to HTC and STI services. Some T-shirts had messages written in local language, encouraging the clients to know their HIV sero-status while others had messages printed in English, calling upon Health Service Providers to remember their code of serving everyone, including MSM.

These T-Shirts were distributed to clients and health service providers in the seven districts where these projects are operating. In 2017, CEDEP through the department of Health continued with efforts to facilitate MSM’s access to health services by conducting regular HIV testing, STI screening and treatment. Six of such campaigns were done under Global Fund project, two each under UNICEF and EJAF projects, respectively.

Linkages also had two major testing campaigns; a social event and Enhanced Peer Outreach Approach (EPOA) and numerous campaigns in the districts. EPOA is a time-limited approach implemented to improve access to HIV services for MSM who have never been reached by the program. The approach uses the existing social networks among the MSM in the community in which peers reach out to fellow MSM using coupons.

Within two weeks of implementing EPOA, CEDEP broke into new MSM networks and managed to identify more HIV positive MSM. Previously, using the peer educators model, it was difficult to reach many MSM within two weeks except during social events. Additionally, KP diagnosed HIV positive could take much longer before starting on treatment.