Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Daphne Tracey Ngawina Gondwe

Nationality: Malawi
Institution: Malawi Home Based Care Alliance
Country of work: Malawi

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

  • To bring about change in availability and access to treatment for PLHIVs. This will increase demand for the enjoyment and exercise of rights for PLHIVs in Malawi and beyond;
  • To eliminate customary and traditional norms that seek to deprive PLHIV, especially women and girls, access to health services;
  • To increase women’s access to health care at household level. In Malawi, WLHIV access to health care is largely determined by their husbands. Most women report that their husbands make decisions related to the wives health care;
  • To be part of the larger network of HIV advocates globally. This is important for sharing information and experiences.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

  • Quality HIV and Reproductive Maternal and Newborn Health (RMNH) Services: this advocacy aims at improving retention of mothers living with HIV on ART through pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding and beyond. We work with the Health Facility Management teams at health centers to improve clinical governance in order to increase uptake of services by mothers living with HIV during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding periods. It also increases capacity of WLHIV to take leadership in accountability for HIV and RMNH services;
  • Male involvement in PMTCT: we engage traditional and religious leaders and men themselves through local-to-local dialogues to support pregnant women during anti-natal visits by accompanying them;
  • Engage men and boys to go for voluntary medical male circumcision through community meetings and lobbying on a one-on-one basis.

How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?

Being an HIV activist, trainer and community educator the academy will influence my current work in the following ways:

  • Strengthen my understanding of the latest HIV cure research;
  • Improve my communication skills at grassroots level;
  • Provide evidence-based information on issues related to treatment. This will enhance my art in packaging and communicating this new knowledge – information, dissemination and sharing of good practices, which is important in advocacy;
  • Strengthen effective mobilization and alliance building strategies in identifying targets for change.