Providing Lifesaving Healthcare across Lilongwe
“I know there are people out there who do not know how to access healthcare. I am happy working with communities because I know that there are people out there who cannot do it alone” – Grace, Community Health Assistant
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In Malawi, the most vulnerable women and girls are not getting access to the basic medical resources that they urgently need. Approximately 24.9% of female sex workers are HIV positive (UNAIDS). Sex workers frequently experience discrimination and abuse, which they do not feel able to report. Unintended pregnancy is a huge risk, the World Bank reports that pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second highest cause of death for teenage girls worldwide.
Our lifesaving Mobile Health Clinic takes HIV testing and counselling, sexual and reproductive health services and essential medication to the most at risk ‘hotspot’ areas of Lilongwe, Malawi. We conduct outreach visits twice a week, and reach over 6,000 people a year in urgent need of healthcare. The Clinic is a critical tool at the heart of our mission to promote sexual and reproductive health and gender rights – allowing our participants to improve their health and transform their future.
The Clinic benefits female sex workers, sexually exploited girls and the wider community in which they work, including clients. Working with women in sex work and sexually exploited girls is a key objective for us due to their significant marginalisation. We partner with the Ministry of Health to provide these vital services.
The Clinic is staffed by a fully qualified Nurse, a Community Health Assistant and two trained HIV counsellors. The Clinic also joins in with some of our community Interactive Theatre performances – meaning community members can participate in exploring attitudes towards female sex workers and the solutions to health issues, and then can access the services they need immediately afterwards. It is demand creation, and supply, in a very immediate sense.
Our Mobile Health Clinic has proved to be an invaluable resource to reach at-risk people who would not otherwise be able to access healthcare, and has been praised by the District AIDS Commission. In April 2017 to March 2018 we distributed 252,517 male condoms, screened 3,638 participants for sexually transmitted infections and tested 1,606 people for HIV.