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High HIV rates in Malawi’s mining sector

Malawi Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) implementing projects in the mining and extraction sector have been asked not to overlook the issues of HIV and Aids when implementing projects because sexual activities are high around mining sites.

District Coordinator for National Association of people living with HIV and Aids (Napham) in Karonga Saul Diyoni made the appeal on Monday when officials from Action Aid briefed members of the District Executive Committee (Dec) on a project aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in the mining sector.

“It is an open secret that HIV and Aids has affected all corners of our society as such we all need to stay on guard hence I am surprised why partners implementing projects in the mines are so insensitive to the matter,” said Diyoni.

Diyoni advised that the health and wellbeing of people around mining sites has to be one of the key priorities because, according to him, interventions in other areas risk to be in vain if they target a reckless people who indulge in risky behavior.

“It is for this reason that I want to remind all partners with projects in the mines to consider HIV mainstreaming in the communities needless to say that investors also require sensitisation on HIV and Aids workplace policies and other related matters,” he explained.

Responding to the matter project coordinator for Action Aid Elyvin Chawinga conceded that her projects’ work plan does not contain elements on HIV and Aids.

“I must admit that we were a bit negligent on that part and this has been an eye opener for us as such we will go back to the drawing board and see where we can slot in interventions on the pandemic,” she said.

On the project Chawinga said it aims at achieving a collective action among communities and CSOs for effective advocacy and transparency in the extractive industry.

“Our study shows that the mining sector is rocked in a number of disagreements because of lack of trust among stakeholders so one of our key areas in order to ensure that there is coordination among partners so that Malawi benefits fully from its resources,” Chawinga narrated.

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