Musanet shocked With High Increase of Muslim Women Living With HIV/AIDS in Malawi

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Some of the Musanet members who attended the workshop.

Muslim Sisters AIDS Network (Musanet), a non-governmental organization in Malawi has expressed shock at the current prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among Muslim Women forcing it to bring together members from various HIV/AIDS support-groups to brief them on how to manage the situation.

In an interview with Malawi Muslim Official Website in Blantyre at the closing of a three-months training on HIV//AIDS, Musanet chairlady sister Jameela Lire said at the beginning her organization thought that there was not even a single Muslim woman who was HIV positive and after a thorough research, it was surprising to note that over 200 out of 1,000 members were living with the virus.
“We are really shocked as Musanet to see that the rate of Muslim Women living with Hiv/Aids is high in Malawi. That is why we have organized these workshops so that they should also get more information about this deadly disease because at the beginning we did not even think that there can be even a single Muslim woman with Hiv/Aids,” said sister Lire.
The chairlady further called on Muslim women who have not yet joined the organization to do so saying the door is open for them since the organization is not only dealing with people living with Hiv/AIDS but also even those who have not yet acquired the disease are free to join.
The training which was facilitated by experts recommended by Musanet was funded by Mai Aisha Trust, a local charitable organization.
According to Mai Aisha Trust director, Brother Abdul Azziz Yassin his organization funded the workshop as one way of helping the government of Malawi in curbing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Country.

“Mai Aisha Trust is a charitable organization that deals with Health, Education and some other social challenges. But what really impressed us is the way these women are organized and the work they do towards the curbing of Hiv/Aids in Malawi,” said brother Yassin.
“And we also know that this disease does not look at a particular religion but it actually affects every individual. So we thought that we need to support the government to ensure that we have a free-Hiv/Aids society,” he said.

District Aids coordinator for Blantyre, one of the facilitators, Mr. Lothiar Ngulube, also praised Musanet for coming up with such valuable Aids programs.

“You know at first I did not know that there is this grouping of women. This is what we have been discussing [as Blantyre City Assembly] that there is a sector which is missing only to realize that there is this particular grouping. They are organized and that is why I did not even hesitate when they invited me to participate in these workshops,” said Mr. Ngulube.
On her part sister Sami Mkunga from Lirangwe support-group also paid tribute to Musanet saying the organization has opened their eyes because   previously when someone got sick in their area they were busy accusing each other of witch craft without knowing that it was HIV/AIDS.
According to Sister Lire, over 567 out of 1,000 members from Blantyre have been trained since June, 2010 and that they will ensure that every Muslim woman including youths get to know the dangerous of HIV/AIDS.

18 COMMENTS

  1. First I would like to commend Musanet as well as Mai Aisha Trust for the job they are doing. I am equally shocked as much as I am disturbed to learn about these kind of revelations coming at the time when we Muslims have been busy making comments on matters of HIV/AIDS as if they were alien and only existed in the non-Muslim circles only. The issue about HIV/AIDS is not strange to all Malawians and Muslims alike but the approach we Muslims have taken seems to me more of a casual than the seriousness it deserves. It is my hope that people in authority from the Muslim communities are doing something (when I talk of people authority, I mean the Majlis Ulama) because if interventions such as the use of condoms are taken what is the shariah ruling on such matters? Do we have a fatwa on the use of condoms as well as other mitigating factors adopted by the non-Muslim communities? I think its high time we walked our talk because for long we have told the world that Islam holds the answer to every aspect of human needs but when human needs aveils we are more reactive than we are proactive which leaves our contemporaries wondering whether our assertions regarding the completeness of the Islamic religion indeed has substance. The stories about Muslims being victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic are real and its high time we took steps tangible enough to cub the pandemic using the principles of our religion so that we can restore the image of being a quality control Ummah as the Qur'an address us. Our intervetion should not be money centred rather it should be based on an approach that considers the economic situation of our country. The time is now for muvi oyang'anira umalowa mmaso.

    • It is true brother. I am telling you it is a high time now we need to wake up because if we only depend on 'Mashallah,' wallah! Prophet Muhammad's (s.aw) Ummah is going to end. I am also really shocked to see other organisations diverting money into their pockets instead of using it for assigned purpose. And if you hear stories about Muslim women, am telling you can even flow your tears.

    • I very much remember Mary Shaba, the Secretary for Nutrition & Health one day saying Malawi cannot adopt the compulsory circumcision because the "areas that are perceived to have circumcised people has a high HIV/Aids prevalence rate". I think as Muslim leaders we haven't done enough to sensitise our laity.

  2. I think we need very serious interventions in the fight against HIV/Aids in order to reduce infection rates.

  3. I urge the Muslim brothers that will have access to this article to approach MUSANET and hear for themselves the revelations we have from Muslim sisters that have tested positive, and the reaction they have gotten from you, our Muslim brothers who are our husbands. Its quite shocking. 1. A Muslim brother does not want to hear about VCT, 2. If the wife talks about VCT then she is asking for divorce,3. If the wife gathers enough courage then goes for VCT and reveals her positive status to the husband, then end of story, the marriage is over. 4. The same brother who is already suspicious of his status goes on to marry another innocent sister thereby spreading the disease. I think its high time we engage seriously, our Muslim brothers from top to bottom on this issue otherwise its not helping sensitising the Muslim sisters only. Being a MUSANET member, I say you are all welcome to Muslim Sisters Aids Network.

  4. I do not know whther the research Musanet carried out was credible enough to come up with the 20% HIV/AIDS prevalence among Muslim women. This is beating the national HIV/AIDS prevalence which stands at around 12%. Can Musanet tell the world how their research was conducted to arrive at the 20% prevalence among Muslim women? Was it countrywide, regional wide, district wide, area wide, etc? Which age group was the pandemic impact heavist? No body can deny that there is HIV/AIDS pandemic among both Muslim men and women, but the 20% pandemic needs substantial justification. If the figures released by Musanet are correct then the Muslim socity needs to do something urgently to correct and reverse the worsening situation.

    • It seems to me the figures that are being mentioned here are based on the membership of Musanet which the Chairlady mentioned. This is a representation of the sample which the organisation conducted their research on. I think we may not be moving forward by asking for the authenticity of the claims of HIV/AIDS pandemic among Muslims which I think we are all at this stage in agreement as to the existence. This is an exposure of how sometimes we have missed the point by concentrating on matters that are trivial. Our mother body (MAM) should be better placed if at all to provide such statistics. But the bottom line is that the revelations in our hands made available by Musanet are worthy taking note of and a way forward surely must be found sooner than later.

  5. Well I would like to make corrections, I think someone is not getting it clear somewhere, in terms of credibility of the research MUSANET carried out. MUSANET has 1,000 members and of these 200 are living positively.The figures portrayed here are from our membership, those who declared their status. Some may have chosen to kepp quiet, if we include those, what do you think is the representationa? If we go, national, whats the news? What we have know is, the prevalence rate for a certain gruop, district or sector can be higher than that of the national. And that's the situation here, which means as a muslim community, we have work to do.

    • I commend for what MUSANET is doing. However, from my observations, they are concentrating their focus on "living positively" projects. I think it's high time they go for advocacy.

      Secondly, we have seen organisations in the media receiving big sums of money from NAC, is that money achieving its intended objectives? We could be living on a time bomb here!

  6. For your information dear brothers and sisters Musanet is planning to conduct Muslim couples Workshops next year country wide of which during these workshops, we shall have some of our sisters Living positively, giving testimonies of what they have gone through after being abandoned by their spouses, whalayi that will leave every body tongue tied and puzzled, but the most interesting part is Musanet has given hope to these fellow sisters and they believe that life has to go on Insha-Allah. We remind them that they should not forget that Allah is the best knower and protector for all of us Insha-Allah.

    Some time next month Musanet is also intending to conduct workshops with our Muslim Youth both boys and girls, so that we also sensitize our future Muslim Leaders who will help to have an AIDS free Muslim Ummah in future Insha-Allah.

  7. Alhamdulillah, credit must always be given to where it is due. I wish to congratulate Musanet for the commendable job that it is doing, mostly for breaking the silence among the muslim community. There are other muslims who think that AIDS only affects non-muslims, yet we all know that solong as one is involved in zina, ytou are likely to catch it. i would like to ask Brothers to also play some role so that we can appreciate the real situation on the ground and help in mitigating the impacts of the deadly pandemic, insha Allah.

    My only worry with most Islamic organisations is that they keep their programmes a secret, instead of leting the general public know. Personally, I always learn about such programmes after they have already taken place. Why do we choose to let each other out when there is chance of publicity? Please, lets make use of all avenues available so that other people should know that Muslims too are playing an important role in this country. Let us cover your programmes……. We like to work for Islam.

  8. Thanks Shamima Binali for enlightening us and correcting the prevalence figures. I was so alarmed and shocked. 20% is just too much, we are not that bad…are we? Let us be careful when it comes to giving factual information. Malawi as a nation is at 12%. However it is possible for us as Muslims to have correct figures just like we can have our own population.

  9. Assalam alaykum to you all my Muslim brothers and sisters,I thank you All for your informative and educative comments which I think have benefited both those living with the HIV/AIDS and those who are not. Let me first give my recommendation to what MUSANET has done for in lighting the Ummah of what is there on the ground so that we can take the appropriate measures to prevent the Muslim community from this destruction. Am sure a lot of us we have mixed views upon the results of the research conducted, I think concentrating on the results is it real or not just increases the same problem we had before this research conducted that the Muslim community is free from this pandemic which is not correct at all. Assume that the research conducted is perfect, what are we going to do as Muslim community, and what precaution are we going to use to put this threatening percentage of infected Muslim sisters to an end? Those are some of the question we need to ask our selves instead of just arguing. The problem is that the majority of our Muslim women are illiterate hence they have no access to information. This is something we have to work on. Education is one of the solutions to this problem. So let's empower our women in terms of learning to read and write that will help them Inshaallah. May Allah protect the Ummah, Aameen!.Wassalam alaykum warahmatllah wabarakatuh.

  10. So sad. All what brothers and sisters are saying is true. We encourage you MUSANET crue that this should be the beginning of your reveralations. Keep updating us.Also encourage people to get tested so that once they know there status can also reshape there future by either go for ART if +ve and be faithful to one's partner if -ve.

    Allah says he can only change the status of people if they begin changing their behavior and status.

    May Allah change us as we are vowing to change our status ameen.

  11. Assalaam Alaikum

    I think it is very necessary that we Muslims should study and understand our religion well; otherwise we shall keep missing vital solutions to the many problems facing the society today.

    I very much feel pity that today we have more university degree holders but we fail to propose Islamic solutions to our social problems, including teh so called HIV/AIDS pandemic. This is all atributed to our lack of interest in studying and knowing our beautiful and all-panacea religion of Islam.

    Wassalaam

    Adil

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