Malawi: Giving comprehensive AIDS care

In this country, where most people live in rural areas and have little or no access to health care, MSF provides medical treatment including life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) therapy to people living with AIDS in the districts of Chiradzulu and Thyolo in southern Malawi. MSF also responds to nutritional emergencies and outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. In the Thyolo district, MSF is providing health care to people living with HIV/AIDS through activities in two hospitals, ten health centers and multiple clinics and other sites. MSF works with volunteers, traditional healers and birth attendants to provide an integrated approach to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support. Team activities include voluntary counseling and testing services, treatment for opportunistic diseases (including tuberculosis), prevention of mother-to-child transmission and home-based care. MSF staff also hold monthly mobile clinics for commercial sex workers. By the end of August 2004, about 1,250 patients were receiving treatment with ARVs. In Chiradzulu, MSF staff carry out daily HIV clinics in the central district hospital and bimonthly clinics in 11 district health centers. MSF sees an average of 400 newly diagnosed patients per month. The MSF team also cares for hospitalized HIV/AIDS patients. By July 2004, more than 3,200 patients were taking ARVs, at the rate of 200 to 250 new patients per month. MSF also works to educate the public to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. MSF has worked in Malawi since 1986. International Staff: 19 National Staff: 181