Joint mission to Malawi, June 2006
12 June 2006
Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Permanent Secretary, United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) visited Malawi to review progress made in the country’s AIDS response. The visit focused on Malawi’s political leadership and commitment in accelerating universal access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support. Dr. Piot and Sir Chakrabarti met with President Bingu wa Mutharika, government representatives, civil society, and UN and donor agencies to gain insight into national and bi-lateral programmes to address the challenges to scaling up prevention, treatment, care and support. “We are at a turning point in HIV response in Africa and we are starting to see results. Countries in East Africa are reporting good results due to access to testing and treatment. Malawi is not yet there but all the signs are evident. It takes years for measurable results especially in behavioural change. How men and women relate must change fundamentally to stop putting the whole nation at risk,” Dr. Piot said. Malawi’s AIDS response has yielded stabilisation of HIV infection rates at an average of 14%. In the last two years, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment jumped from 4,000 to over 46,000 at the beginning of 2006. However, more resolute interventions in the areas of finance, community empowerment and political drive are necessary to increase effectiveness and reach of HIV prevention, treatment and care.