Blantyre, December 1 – In commemoration of World AIDS Day today, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, and Malawi’s Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi, together opened the new Umodzi Family Center on the campus of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. The U.S. Government, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), contributed to the completion of the new Umodzi Family Center, a vital Ministry of Health facility in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Malawi.
“The new facility we’re opening today, on World AIDS Day 2017, is called the Umodzi Family Center to emphasize the comprehensive and family-focused nature of the new facility. The Umodzi Family Center will be a Center of Excellence in Blantyre where access to critical services will be integrated into a ‘one stop shop’ to include HIV testing and treatment, tuberculosis screening, and targeted reproductive health services. The opening of this clinic marks another milestone in Malawi’s outstanding national HIV program. The United States is proud to support Malawi’s leadership in the global HIV/AIDS response,” said U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer.
The original Umodzi Clinic, established in 2002, was one of Malawi’s first Ministry of Health sites to provide access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for people living with HIV. The clinic serves as a referral site for patients from other health facilities within Blantyre and the southern region districts of Chikwawa, Blantyre, Nsanje, Mwanza, Neno, Chiradzulu, and Thyolo.
Malawi was one of the first countries in the world to launch a policy that supports universal antiretroviral therapy eligibility for people living with HIV, a program known as “Test and Treat,” which has resulted in even more people living with HIV starting antiretroviral therapy. With the success of Malawi’s national HIV program, access to HIV testing and uptake of antiretroviral therapy has expanded dramatically. With this success, the patient volumes at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital grew beyond the capacity of the existing Umodzi Clinic infrastructure, which currently sees over 12,000 patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The new Umodzi Family Center has the capacity to serve double the number of patients as the former facility.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supports the Government of Malawi’s HIV/ AIDS response and the objective of meeting the “90-90-90” goals – through multiple prevention and treatment interventions. (The “90-90-90” goals are targets to help end the HIV epidemic and refer to: 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90% of those who have been diagnosed are on treatment; and 90% of those on treatment are virally suppressed). In fiscal year 2017, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Department of HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR supported the following achievements in Malawi:
- Life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 658,316 individuals
- Voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention for 98,532 men
- Testing and counseling for over 3.6 million individuals
- Care and support for 162,474 orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS
- Antiretroviral medications for 40,424 pregnant women living with HIV to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission
Learn more about PEPFAR’s life-saving work in Malawi at: https://www.pepfar.gov/countries/malawi/