Malawi To Provide HIV-Positive Civil Servants With Additional $35 Monthly, Health Minister Says
Malawi plans to provide HIV-positive civil servants in the country with an additional $35 monthly in an effort to improve their nutrition, Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunje said on Monday, Reuters South Africa reports (Reuters South Africa, 1/7). According to Mary Shaba, Malawi's principal secretary for HIV/AIDS and nutrition, the $35 is not extra pay but a "workplace program for nutritional support for people to respond to treatment quickly." Shaba added that the original idea for the program was to help HIV-positive civil servants buy antiretroviral drugs. However, because the country began providing access to no-cost antiretrovirals in 2004, HIV-positive civil servants "now need nutritional support," she said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/8).
According to Ngaunje, the government has released a notice calling on all civil servants affected by HIV/AIDS to come forward. The government thought the additional $35 "on top of their monthly salaries would go a long way in improving their nutritional requirements, which are essential to their well-being," she said. Civil servants in Malawi earn an average of $200 monthly, according to Reuters South Africa. "We know that thousands" are living with HIV "in the civil service, and with the new system, we expect to have exact numbers when people enroll as beneficiaries," Shaba said. Health officials estimate that about one million people in Malawi are living with HIV and that about 640,000 people have died from AIDS-related causes since 1985 (Reuters South Africa, 1/7).