Malawi

In 2011, the Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH) implemented an innovative approach (called "Option B+"), in which all HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women are eligible for lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) regardless of CD4 count. Since that time, several countries have adopted the Option B+ policy. Using data collected through routine program supervision, this report is the first to summarize Malawi's experience implementing Option B+ under the direction of the MOH and supported by the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In Malawi, the number of pregnant and breastfeeding women started on ART per quarter increased by 748%, from 1,257 in the second quarter of 2011 (before Option B+ implementation) to 10,663 in the third quarter of 2012 (1 year after implementation). Of the 2,949 women who started ART under Option B+ in the third quarter of 2011 and did not transfer care, 2,267 (77%) continue to receive ART at 12 months; this retention rate is similar to the rate for all adults in the national program. Option B+ is an important innovation that could accelerate progress in Malawi and other countries toward the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV worldwide.

Background: The Ministry of Health in Malawi is implementing a pragmatic and innovative approach for the management of all HIV-infected pregnant women, termed Option B+, which consists of providing life-long antiretroviral treatment, regardless of their CD4 count or clinical stage. Our objective was to determine if Option B+ represents a cost-effective option.

A demonstration project (January 2010 to June 2011) in Malawi improved the exchange and use of family planning/reproductive health and HIV/AIDS knowledge among health workers using a short message service (SMS) network.

This assessment of health information needs, conducted in the capital city and 3 districts of Malawi in 2009, showed the need to build the capacity of government technical working groups to collect and store information and promote information exchange; improve information synthesis and packaging; strengthen the district level to serve as an information hub; and explore the use of mobile technologies.

Described here is the first population genetic study of Plasmodium malariae, the causative agent of quartan malaria. Although not as deadly as Plasmodium falciparum, P. malariae is more common than previously thought, and is frequently in sympatry and co-infection with P. falciparum, making its study increasingly important. This study compares the population parameters of the two species in two districts of Malawi with different malaria transmission patterns—one seasonal, one perennial—to explore the effects of transmission on population structures. The extent of similarity between P. falciparum and P. malariae population structure described by the high level of multiple infection, the lack of significant population differentiation or haplotype clustering, and lack of linkage disequilibrium is surprising given the differences in the biological features of these species that suggest a reduced potential for out-crossing and transmission in P. malariae. The absence of a rise in P. malariae MOI with increased transmission or a reduction in MOI with age could be explained by differences in the duration of infection or degree of immunity compared to P. falciparum.

The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) has increased considerably in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. A major challenge is to maintain uninterrupted supplies of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and prevent stock-outs.

The national scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Malawi is based on a public health approach, with principles and practices borrowed from the successful DOTS tuberculosis control framework. During the first 6 years, the number of patients registered on treatment increased from 3,000 to >350,000 in both the public and private sectors.

Among adults eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Thyolo (rural Malawi) and Kibera (Nairobi, Kenya), this study (1) reports on retention and attrition during the preparation phase and after starting ART and (2) identifies risk factors associated with attrition.

Objective  To describe how district-wide access to HIV/AIDS care was achieved and maintained in Thyolo District, Malawi. Method  In mid-2003, the Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières developed a model of care for Thyolo district (population 587 455) based on decentralization of care to health centres and community sites and task shifting.

Drawing on evidence from Malawi and Ethiopia, this article analyses the eff ects of ARTscale-up interventions on human resources policies, service delivery and general health outcomes, and explores how synergies can be maximized.

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