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.