Malawi: In Malawi, Home-Based Care Group Makes Positive Impact (February 2009)

In Chimbalanga village in Southern Malawi, the Makhanga home-based care group is making a positive impact in many lives with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Following the 2006 certification of eight members by the Government of Malawi in home-based care, the group has cared for community members living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and educated fellow community members about HIV/AIDS and its consequences.

One of the beneficiaries of Makhanga’s home-based care work is Gertrude Makasu.

Gertrude, a mother of two, became the sole supporter of her household when her husband died. When her health deteriorated and prevented her from working, she worried about her family’s future. But thanks to the Makhanga home-based care group, Gertrude learned her HIV status and was able to regain control of her health.

“At that time the volunteers came and counseled me,” she said. “They encouraged me to go for voluntary HIV counseling and testing where I tested positive for both HIV and tuberculosis.”

With the volunteers’ help, Gertrude registered for monthly food rations, was treated for tuberculosis and received HIV counseling.

“Without this group, I would have been dead,” she said.

Today, Gertrude is again an active growth monitoring volunteer. Home-based care volunteers continue to visit her at her home and counsel her on living positively with HIV/AIDS. Asked if she experiences stigma and discrimination, Gertrude said that this doesn’t exist in the community thanks to the efforts of the Makhanga home-based care group. U.S. Government interagency website managed by the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
and the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department.
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