Malawi Official Discloses That Three of His Children Died of AIDS-Related Complications
Malawi Lands and Planning Minister Thengo Maloya on Tuesday said during an AIDS awareness workshop with members of his staff that three of his children had died of AIDS-related complications -- an "unusual step" for African officials who typically do not disclose such information due to the stigma associated with the disease, London's Guardian reports. Maloya said that he had lost one daughter and two sons in the last 10 years to the disease, adding that nearly 100 of his staff members had also died due to AIDS-related diseases. Almost one million of the country's 11 million people are HIV-positive, the Guardian reports (Boseley/Carroll, Guardian, 2/19). Maloya said, "The truth is that when you are HIV-positive [in Malawi], it is surely a warrant signed and a verdict pronounced, you will surely die, you must die." He added that it is important to "agree that AIDS is killing people, that AIDS has no cure and the available drugs only prolong life and do not cure" (Agence France-Presse, 2/18). He said that the country has had "very good success" in raising awareness about the disease, adding that people know "how it is caused and they know in theory how you can avoid it, but obviously moving from awareness to behavioral change is a big step which we haven't achieved to the same level as we would wish" (Guardian, 2/19). Malawi is currently working on establishing a national HIV/AIDS policy to help provide a "legal and administrative framework" to address the epidemic; the country has not had a policy for the last two decades, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 2/18). The Guardian on Tuesday featured a special supplement examining "the people with the money, power and influence to save" the lives of the nearly 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who do not have access to HIV/AIDS medications, including an interview with Justin Malewezi, Malawi's vice president who runs the country's campaign against AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.