Malawi hosts the final SRH/HIV Linkages Steering Committee Meeting

2 October 2015
Dr. Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Health

Lilongwe - Malawi successfully hosted the 5th and final regional project steering committee of the United Nations Aids (UNAIDS) and United Nations for Population Agency (UNFPA) joint initiative on Linking Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and HIV (SRHR-HIV) in Southern Africa from 7th to 9th September in Lilongwe. The Minister of Health officially opened the meeting attended by the UNAIDS Deputy Regional Director as well as the UN Resident coordinator for Malawi, Mia Seppo. "The importance of this regional meeting is so significant that it makes all of us feel proud as we get to the realities of providing sexual and reproductive health and HIV services using the evidence generated by this project from the seven countries that are present here today" said Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume during the official opening. He further said in all the countries, there have been lessons learnt and good practices documented that will further influence the scaling up of SRHR-HIV integration to other areas within the respective country's zones

In her remarks UNFPA Country Representative, Violet Kakyomya speaking on behalf of the UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Region, said the project aimed at addressing barriers linking to sexual reproductive health and HIV so as to effectively and efficiently increase access to and use of critical HIV and SRH services. "This project has demonstrated great partnerships with strong leadership from respective Governments through the Ministries of Health, among UN agencies and civil society partners that have been our strong allies throughout. We have made tremendous achievements through country led efforts some of which include integration approaches that have been adopted in respective countries' health and development plans, policies and strategies and piloting of innovative service models that suggest improved service uptake among others " she said.

The meeting was attended by participants from Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other partners such as IPPF and donors like European Union and Norad were also represented. The participants started the meeting with a field visit in two groups. One group went to Family Planning Association of Malawi clinic at Kawale township in Lilongwe where they interacted with service providers as well as members of the Nzotheka youth group. The other group visited Ntakataka health facility to appreciate the SRH/HIV integration at facility level.