Thursday, July 5, 2012

ADRA Malawi joins partners in the International Candlelight Memorial

By Stanley Mpasa and Judith Kumwenda

The international candlelight memorial ceremonies have been conducted in several cities and town across the country. In Blantyre the activity took place on May 22, at Kachere Trading Centre, reflecting on the year’s theme; Promoting health and dignity together.  Earlier in the day, people marched  from Makheta, North-East of Blantyre to Kachere Township and carried posters while singing  songs  remembering  those who died due to HIV/AIDS.
The Blantyre function was graced by Honourable John Bande, Member of Parliament for the area and Minister of Trade and Private Sector Development who was als
The Guest of Honor ( left) lighting a candle
o the Guest of honor. 
Two days earlier, ADRA Malawi provided the Radio platform on Zatonse program where the Organizing Committee sensitized the general public about the function.

The Guest of Honour started by visiting the various pavilions holding exhibitions of items ranging from foods that are recommended for HIV positive people to the various herbs that have medicinal values and help the PLWHAS live a better life. Also exhibited were some of the services that that the Government and the various NGOs are providing in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, like the male and female condoms,  Ant Retroviral Drugs and Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VCT) .  During the function, people were offered free testing and counselling.

The Guest of Honor inspecting pavilions
There were also poem recitals, traditional dances and drama staged by a group of HIV/ AIDS Counsellors. The songs and plays contained important messages on HIV/AIDS like the importance of being tested, the importance of changing our sexual behaviour to conform to the current times and the prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of the virus. It was interesting  to see a group  of 10 blind men and women who had covered a distance of about  12km on foot from Bangwe, East of Blantyre to have their blood tested. Religious leaders from various denominations were not left out and they offered their prayers  to inspire those affected and their families and  those who are trying to make the life if the PLWHAs bette
spreading the message throu
r through the services they provide.
At the peak of the function, speeches, dances and poems reflected on the theme, emphasising on the need for united efforts to reduce the incidences of HIV/AIDS.  The Guest of Honor stressed on the need for people to work together to promote health and dignity for all sections of the community. He said  the Malawi Government was committed to provide good health and dignity through the provision of free Ant-Retro-viral Therapy .

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