Friday, February 19, 2010

Global Hope Mobilisation in Malawi film project

Global Hope Mobilisation, in conjunction with Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), will be hosting a Canadian firm, Terida Systems Inc, to discuss how Malawi would manage to fight HIV/Aids using information, communication and technology infrastructure.

According to MHEN Programme Director, Caleb Thole, Terida Systems Inc is expected to meet government officials and other stakeholders in the health sector from November 24 to 25 this year.

Terida Systems is an institution working on ICT infrastructure innovations to reduce HIV and Aids, and tuberculosis around the globe. The work of the Toronto-based ICT giants has proved helpful in HIV and Aids treatment as well as care.

Thole said the goals of the meeting are to show how ICT infrastructure is working in other countries, how Malawi could benefit from ICT programmes to mitigate the pandemic and to find ways and means of replicating such programmes in Malawi.

Since the 2001 call for universal access to HIV and Aids treatment and care, there have been a lot of innovative discoveries in the fight against the pandemic.

“These range from awareness to treatment and care, while other innovative ideologies include discoveries of scaling up the use of, and improving, Nevirapine and ARVs, in addition to clinical research and trials on HIV and Aids vaccines being conducted globally,” said Thole.

Research has also shown that adherence to ARV treatment stops HIV from reproducing. However, when patients skip their dose of medication, the virus reproduces quickly and increases their viral load, thereby putting the patient at risk of suffering from HIV and Aids-related conditions and even death.

The researchers have found that optimal suppression of the virus requires 90 to 95 percent adherence. But providing ART in resource constrained countries with limited human resources presents a living challenge to balancing the demand for treatment and maintenance of improved standards of care.

MHEN National Coordinator, Martha Kwataine, says even for those suffering from other diseases, health workers find it difficult to follow up on patients due to poor record keeping since patients’ records have been known to sometimes go missing.

“There is need to use and apply advanced technological innovations for health workers to ably keep information pertaining to their patients,” said Kwataine.

She added that if Malawi wanted to register positive change, through reduced HIV and Aids prevalence rates, new technological interventions needed to be applied, and quickly.

Terida Systems Inc is currently implementing a programme in Trinidad and Tobago, where a five-year long National HIV and Aids strategic plan has been developed.

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