HIV RESILIENCE HEROES
Lake Chilwa health workers: Stopping HIV in Malawi's fishing communities, one referral at a time
A critical part of the global effort to end the AIDS epidemic is educating communities. Around the world, volunteers, activists and social workers share information in schools and churches, on street corners and during house-by-house visits. This important work is often what persuades people to take action – to get tested for HIV, to explore PrEP, to begin and stay on antiretroviral therapy. But what happens next? Strong clinical services and dedicated health workers must be there to receive these life-saving referrals.
At local health centers near Malawi’s Lake Chilwa, they are. With funding from PEPFAR, Pact’s FISH project helped to reach a key local group in stemming new HIV infections: fishermen, who are at a higher risk because of their mobile lifestyle. Once they receive education, fishermen often make the choice – referral slip in hand – to visit a local health center to take the next step. When they do, they find health facility staff like Florence, Jonathan and Christopher, ready to support them.
All photos: Maggie Dougherty/Pact