Malawi Business Coalition Against AIDS - MBCA said this during this year’s World Aids Day commemorations at Blantyre Water Board-BWB premises where Executive Director for MBCA Trizza Mpwatiwa hailed the BWB for being one of the few companies that have introduced initiatives aimed at reducing AIDS-related deaths at the company.
MBCA confirmed that BWB is one of the star performers in the fight against the virus and urged other companies to emulate what BWB is doing in reducing the viral rate in Blantyre and Malawi as a whole.
“The recent data from demographic health survey done in 2017 shows that 8.8 percent is prevalence for the nation but for Blantyre, it is at 17.6 which indicates a crisis. That is why we are encouraging other companies to have HIV/AIDS vibrant policies so that we can reduce the prevalence rate in the city,” explained Mpwatiwa.
According to Blantyre Water Board’s HIV and AIDS Coordinator Stanly Kasawara Phiri, the situation then was very bad where the Board was losing not less than 3 members of staff in every three months to AIDS related infections before 2008.
Kasawala Phiri said this was one of the reasons that compelled the board to introduce a number of initiatives that have reduced the mortality rate and saw an increased body mass in its employees.
Blantyre Water Board Head of Finance and Administration Henry Bakuwa says provision of nutrition supplements, opening of a wellness centre and increase awareness have also reduced stigma among their workers.
“We encourage our employees to get tested time and again and know their HIV status. If they are found positive, we encourage them to get on ART and as management; we support them through the provision of ARVs and food supplements to boost their health and immune system,” said Bakuwa.
A lot of people during the commemorations testified that the board is doing a lot in making them aware of their status as well as providing the much needed after care. This year’s theme which is a Know Your Status is focusing on newly introduced self testing methods.
UNAIDS estimates that more than 9.4 million people living with HIV do not know their status.