Sex Workers in Malawi Gain Access to Medical Services
The Supporting Sex Workers Community-Based Organization project is praised by SWEAD for improving access to medical services for 3,000 female sex workers in Dedza and Neno districts-Zenak Matekenya.
Malawi-Sex Workers Empowerment Alliance in Dedza (SWEAD) has praised the Supporting Sex Workers Community-Based Organization project that aims to provide improved access to medical services for sex workers in Dedza and Neno districts, writes Zenak Matekenya, MANA.
The project targets 3,000 female sex workers in the two districts’ sex work hotspots and aims to address medical gaps such as long waits and discrimination when accessing medical services, limited access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, and a lack of a comprehensive HIV and sexual reproductive health package.
The project also aims to address the unavailability of syphilis testing in the community, the lack of access to injectable contraceptives, and the low uptake of long-term-acting contraceptives among sex workers.
"A sex worker depends on access to such health services for her business to prosper. We are grateful for the project because it will make it easier for us to access drugs and clinics," SWEAD Chairperson Alice Matambo said on Wednesday in Dedza, when MSF presented the project to the Dedza District AIDS Coordinating Committee (DACC).
She also urged fellow sex workers to continue taking Prep, which reduces the chance of contracting HIV from sex.
According to MSF Sexual Reproductive Health and Sexual Violence Programme Supervisor, Christine Munthali, the project is implemented by two CBOs: Tikondane at Zalewa in Neno and SWEAD in Dedza.
"We are providing medical assistance to the two CBOs led by female sex workers. We are also addressing issues of sexually transmitted infections, treatment, prevention, and health promotion," she said.
Munthali then called on DACC members in Dedza to promote awareness about Prep, saying it is not yet popular despite its significance in the prevention of HIV.
She said the project will advocate for injectable Prep to promote its acceptance among sex workers who feel burdened to take pills on a daily basis while they are not ill.