Non Governmental Organisations last Monday jointly petitioned Speaker of Malawi National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, calling Parliament to speed up responses to issues about HIV and Aids as slowing such responses negatively affect girls and women.
The petition, among other things, wishes to put on wheels the policy formulation and implementation of declarations such as the Abuja Declaration which calls for elevation of women into decision making positions and dedication of 15 percent of total budget towards health care for the nation.
“We want to see adequately funded programmes in Malawi and Africa, particularly centered at women’s health and to elevate and empower more women into decision making bodies… the current budget for reproductive health is supported mainly by donors instead of our government taking a lead and today budget for many African countries is way below 15 percent mark,” reads the petition in part.
The petition was presented to the speaker Chimunthu Banda at New Parliament Building by Joyce Kamwana of Coalition of Women Living with HIV and Aids (COWHLA) and Tendayi Westerhof, convener for Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition on behalf of other organisations and faith based community after a big walk from Area 18 memorial Tower via Area 18 Round about through City Centre.
In his brief remarks, Chimunthu Banda said that he will see to it that the members of Parliament put on the table the issues which are contained in the petition during the forthcoming sitting of parliament.
In order to show that Malawi National Assembly HIV and Aids Commission is actively trying to address issues affecting women with regard to the pandemic, Chimunthu said the committee members are meeting five Ugandan MPs who arrived in the country on Tuesday where among other things they are going to share notes on HIV and Aids issues with regard to women.
“When Parliament meets from November 12, we are definitely going to discuss the issues contained in this petition so that we contribute towards elimination of the problems affecting girls and women with regard to HIV and Aids in the country and Africa at large,” said Chimunthu Banda.
The petition further called the National Assembly to advocate for a better alternative to the current Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) which has severe side effects to their users.