By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Government has described the Malawi Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA) 2020 survey as critical to our country’s understanding of the HIV epidemic.
Minister of Health and Population, Jappie Mhango made the remarks Tuesday during the official launch of the second (MPHIA II 2020) at Bingu International Convection Centre (BICC).
He said MPHIA 2020 is a nationally-representative survey designed to measure the population-level impact of the national HIV prevention, care and treatment programme.
Mhango pointed out that the main objective of MPHIA was to describe the current status of the HIV epidemic and the uptake of prevention, care and treatment services in the country.
“MPHIA 2020 will estimate HIV incidence, prevalence, and viral load suppression among adults and children. Major findings of MPHIA 2020 will provide a deeper understanding and information on the burden of HIV, population viral load, CD4 count distribution, access to prevention services, linkage to care, and retention on ART,” he noted
The Minister believes that the information would guide the Ministry of Health in order to chart a course towards reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets as reflected in the Malawi National Strategic Plan.
Mhango added the Data from MPHIA 2020 would help set funding priorities with respect to HIV and AIDS programming and the information would enable the Ministry of Health to engage in evidence-based policymaking and informed dialogue with the development partners.
He said MPHIA is one of the major population surveys which would be undertaken for the second time in the country since 2015.
“Previously our data came from health facilities, which excludes those who are not in contact with the health system, thus giving us a limited picture,” Mhango explained.
The Minister said the country together with the global community aim to achieve HIV treatment goals such as the UNAIDS 90.90.90 by 2020 and elimination of HIV by 2030.
Mhango added that data on the impact of country-level programmes are needed for proper planning.
He thanked all the Development partners for their support in the fight against HIV and AIDS and other health interventions.
Mhango expressed gratitude to Government of the United States for both financial and technical support in the Health sector, and specifically in the HIV epidemic response.
Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Malawi, Jeremy Neitzke said Malawi is one of the first country’s to achieve epidemic control of UNAIDS 90:90:90 target for HIV and AIDS fight.
He said Malawi’s story of serving lives through a number of interventions that have been implemented in the fight against the epidemic.
Global Director, ICAP at Columbia University, Prof. Wafaa El-Sadr said the survey is being conducted after five years to ascertain the prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS in the country.
She said the survey would help to fil the gaps that would be found in the effort to fight the epidemic in the country.
Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with ICAP at Columbia University and with support from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) agreed to conduct the MPHIA.
Over 15,000 households will be visited in 27 districts of the country apart from Likoma.