Mai Aisha Sisters and Youth AIDS Programme (MASYAP) an organization that is working tirelessly with Muslim women and youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS has emphasized on the need for Muslim leaders to have more knowledge about HIV/AIDS contain the spread of the disease among the Muslim community.
Sister Marriam Ali Khan coordinator said this at a workshop for Sheikhs, which their organization conducted in Blantyre yesterday.
She said Sheikhs works with people and they preach in Mosques as such they can easily spread the message about the danger of HIVAIDS and its preventive measures to everyone.
“Previously we have been working with women and youth and now we have begun working with men hence the reason for drilling sheikhs on HIV/AIDS.
“We want them to be ambassadors in as far as HIV/AIDS issues are concerned so that they should be able to spread the message to the whole Muslim community at large,” she explained.
Dr Eric Umar from College of Medicine is the one who facilitated the program.
Khan said they invited a specialist Dr Umar to drill them because he is a Muslim doctor saying that through him they are hopeful that impact will be huge.
She added that the AIDS pandemic has not spared each sector of the society be it religion or tribe that is why they started HIV/AIDS programmes to raise awareness and its prevention measures to the Muslim community.
She further said they have a lot of work to do since they started late and thanked Mai Aisha Trust for the support they are giving them.
In an interview with Malawi Muslims Official Website, Dr Eric Umar emphasized on the need for everyone especially couples to know their status saying that HIV/AIDS is preventable kind of condition.[pullquote align=”left”]“We want them to be ambassadors in as far as HIV/AIDS issues are concerned so that they should be able to spread the message to the whole Muslim community at large.”[/pullquote]
He said if couples know their status they have potential ways to control it because they live a very good life and observe healthy good guidelines provided by healthy personnel.
“There is also need for self awareness and assessment by each individual this reduces the challenges that people face because of failing to know and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
“Three years ago more pregnant women were failing to disclose their status to their husbands for fear of being divorced and some men do not disclose their status to their wives, the challenges are that they do not budget and take proper food as well as medication accordingly,” he said.
Sheikh Sumani Coaster from Chiradzulu Malamusi Mosque said the training will help him much in the sense that he will be able to know how prevent himself from contracting the disease as well as spreading the massage to others.
Malawi is among nine countries in southern Africa with highest number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
According to 2010 HIVAIDS report, there are 34 million people with HIV in the World, half of People Living with HIV are women.
Reporting by Robert Kumwenda, Official Correspondent for Malawi Muslims Official Website