According to MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND “the first case of HIV/AIDS in Malawi was reported in 1985 under the direction of Presidents Hastings Banda, an autocratic leader with little inclination to openly debate matters of public policy, banned discussion of HIV/AIDS in 1985, making it an offence to speak about the virus.” (MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND) As stated in MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND’s article “Small battles are being won in AIDS-ravaged Malawi”: “Banda claimed that AIDS was just the latest manifestation of racist, white anxieties surrounding black sexuality, and that Western governments, worried about a population explosion in Africa, fabricated the illness in an underhanded effort to impose family planning on African countries. By the time Banda was forced from power in 1994, the prevalence of HIV/ AIDS in women tested in antenatal clinics stood at 30 per cent – a catastrophic rise from 2 per cent in 1985.” (MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND) Because of Banda refusing to acknowledge the fact that HIV/AIDS was and is a serious life threatening illness it was only 1990 when Malawian citizens were allowed to openly discuss the epidemic, but by that time it was already too late. As reported by MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND ” In a thousand small ways, the legacy of Banda’s refusal to face up to the AIDS epidemic can be felt today throughout the Malawian countryside.
” (MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES IRELAND) There were multiple campaigns spreading awareness about the epidemic in Malawi’s urban and rural areas, but still despite the fact the rural areas, as explained in Avert’s “HIV and AIDS in Malawi” article “generally have much higher rates of HIV prevalence – such as Mulanje which presented a prevalence of 24.5% – compared to well-resourced urban areas.” (Avert) This is because the government invests a significantly larger amount of money in urban areas. In their article “The Economic Impact of AIDS in Malawi” Dr. Lori Bollinger John Stover and Dr. Martin Enock Palamuleni write “AIDS has the potential to create severe economic impacts in many African countries. It is different from most other diseases because it strikes people in the most productive age groups and is essentially 100 percent fatal.
The two major economic effects are a reduction in the labor supply and increased costs: Labor Supply The loss of young adults in their most productive years will affect overall economic output.”(The Economic Impact of AIDS in Malawi) Furthermore, quoting wikipedia: “when adults contract HIV, their children often remain home from school to work in the fields, threatening long-term productivity and economic advancement in Malawi.” (Wikipedia) Another way the spread of this disease may affect economy is by the addition costs the government has to pay for health care and keeping the disease somewhat under control. Instead of building new infrastructures and developing the country. A Lot of times a whole family is affected when someone has HIV related illnesses, especially if the person is the main breadwinner in the family.
According to The Economic Impact of AIDS in Malawi: The houses medical expenses increase, women in the family stay home to take care of the sick person, kids may be removed from school to work and save medical expenses wich on a long term results in loss of future income. Last, death result in a permanent decline of income. (The Economic Impact of AIDS in Malawi)Malawi has made great progress in reducing HIV/AIDS rates according to The Nation Online’s “Malawi makes headway in HIV response” article where the writer, Lucky Mkandawire states that: “Malawi has recorded remarkable progress in responding to HIV and AIDS with latest statistics indicating the country has reduced new infections by 40% and cut the national prevalence rate from 10% to 8.
9%”. (The Nation Online) Avert’s article: “HIV and AIDS in malawi reports that the country has big plans , “In its 2015-2020 HIV strategy, NAC states that Malawi will aim to meet UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 treatment targets, with the aim of controlling its HIV epidemic by 2030. By the end of 2020, NAC has committed to:Diagnosing 90% of all people living with HIVStarting and retaining 90% of those diagnosed on ARTAchieved viral suppression for 90% of patients on ARTIf it reaches these goals by 2020, the NAC estimates that 760,000 (73%) of the projected 1,042,000 people living with HIV will be virally suppressed, leading to a dramatic reduction in sexual transmission.
” (AVERT) These are significant improvements and great future goals but only attainable if they spread awareness between the young adults just starting their sexual life and certain other groups such as sex workers and men who have sex with men. If the prevention programs and government put greater effort into educating these people and are able to overcome discrimination malawi’s progress will skyrocket even more.