Local leaders key to quality improvement in HIV prevention

Local leaders key to quality improvement in HIV prevention

Director of Health and Social Services for Blantyre, Dr Gift Kawalazira has described community leaders, such as councillors, as crucial in efforts to achieving quality improvement in healthcare facilities and the provision of HIV prevention services.

Kawalazira said this in Blantyre on Thursday at the fourth learning session of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Quality Improvement Collaborative for the district’s healthcare facilities, organised under the Blantyre HIV Prevention Strategy.

He said as gatekeepers and opinion leaders, councillors help healthcare facilities to penetrate communities with messages on new products and services on HIV prevention, such as PrEP treatment.

“Our powers as healthcare workers begin and end at the facilities. We, therefore, need ward councillors to help us in getting our messages on HIV prevention to the communities, because they spend time there during funerals and development meetings among others,” Kawalazira said.

Kawalazira added that as people that interact with the communities, councillors are crucial in identifying issues in their communities and escalating them to various decision-making platforms.

Councillor for Blantyre Soche East Ward, Leonard Chimbanga conceded that councillors and other community leaders have a critical role to play to support Malawi’s efforts towards achieving 2030 HIV and AIDS goals.

“As people who interact with our communities, we have the power to influence the members of our communities to patronise various HIV prevention services. We have a duty to encourage, in particular, men to take up such treatments like PrEP to avoid contracting HIV,” Chimbanga said.

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