Human rights activists lobby for key population health interventions – Capital Radio Malawi
22 July, 2024

Human rights activists lobby for key population health interventions

Michael Kaiyatsa - CHRR Executive Director

Local human rights organizations are lobbying for improved financing of health interventions for key populations in the country, especially those of higher-risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

They include lesbians, gays, sex workers, transgender people, prisoners and people who inject drugs. According to Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), the key population continues to face systematic human rights violations and barriers to access information and services.

CHRR Executive Director, Michael Kaiyatsa, points out that Malawi has not been doing well in terms financing interventions for the key population.

“The funding has been very erratic and we still have challenges with regards providing tailor made services to key populations in this country.

“If you look at these groups, there are interventions that are specifically tailor made for them and are supposed to be provided but due to inconsistent funding and a lack of political will, these things are not delivered, resulting in HIV prevalence rate being very high among them,” adds Kaiyatsa.

Kaiyatsa further points out that funding for various health interventions has been erratic, a development that is saddening, considering that the group faces a high HIV risk as compared to the general population.

Litigation Officer at Center for Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), Ruth Kaima, speaks in unison with Kaiyatsa on the need for the country to have an adequate budgetary allocation that will cater for health and human rights issues for the key population.

“As CHREAA through the projects that we run, we have encountered several challenges that these key populations are facing and we feel there’s more that needs to be done in terms of budgetary allocations to the ministry of health in relation to key population because we have discovered that the budget just goes as a large chunk without specifications and this is affecting health right of the group,” Kaima explains.

On what should be done for a turnaround of the current situation, Kaiyatsa believes that the HIV strategy which was developed sometime back and runs till 2022 should be fully utilized and interventions outlined must be implemented with enough funding.

He further states that tailor-made services such as condoms and lubricants which were recommended to be on essential medicines list must be easily accessible to the population.

The key population continues to face other challenges like discrimination and ridicule when trying to access medical treatment, which is said to be largely contributing to rising cases of HIV/AIDS.

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