Our Lifeline Malawi Youth Program gives us opportunity to influence youth and young adults in our community. THEY SAY YES is the name of an LM initiative that we will be using to inspire youth to take positive steps to a better life. Together Helping Empower Youth Say Yes means saying:
The list goes on. With this initiative, we can not only empower youth to a better future but also engage community leaders and the community members for their support.
Lifeline Malawi is making a difference, influencing the next generations for Jesus and for making healthy choices in life. Teen pregnancies and school dropout are critically negative events that we are trying to reduce amongst the youth. Young people are particularly at risk for being infected with HIV, due to early sexual activity and marriage, with 50% of new HIV infections in Malawi affecting those aged 15 to 17. Join us by saying yes to donating to Lifeline Malawi to help us with this work!
|Young girl who needs our help through the THEY SAY YES initiative.|
This is Sam, who spends most of his his nights fishing on Lake Malawi. It's a tough and dangerous life for a fisherman. But not all the dangers are on the water. Once on dry land, Sam, along with other fisherman, finds beer to drink at the local home-brewing establishment. Sam will then head to a grass hut where he sleeps in crowded conditions, together with other fisherman. This is the life which repeats every day.
Sam is a client of Lifeline Malawi. He was recently diagnosed with 3+ Tuberculosis (TB) and is now on intensive TB medicines. This is not the first time Sam has been diagnosed. He relapsed because of previous poor adherence and compliance to therapy. He does not realize that he is a high risk to his fellow fisherman.
Because of his poor adherence to taking his medicine, our staff made a follow-up visit with Sam at his village. Here they gave health talks to everyone speaking about TB infections, how to get a diagnosis, explaining the treatment and prevention, plus offering HIV and TB testing. Often, TB and HIV go together.
|Staff in the midst of testing and counselling|
To get to Sam's remote village, our staff first drove for 40 minutes in our ambulance over pot-holed dirt roads. The road eventually became impassible. They traveled the remainder of the way by foot, walking for 30 minutes in the hot sun and carrying their supplies. Once at the village, they began their work of educating, offering TB and HIV screening, and most importantly, taking sputum samples from Sam's close contacts.
Further follow-up will be needed during future visits. In addition, the staff noted the poor sanitary conditions at the village. Something more the villagers will need our help with. We are proud of our staff, thankful for their compassion, and we greatly appreciate the immense effort they make to care for all the people in the community, even travelling to these remote areas
In Malawi, as in many other societies, women have historically been responsible for housework, food gathering and preparations, and childcare. Care in pregnancy and the birth of a baby has been solely a female event. But times are changing. Malawian men are increasingly becoming involved in maternal and child health as well as household chores such as growing, buying and preparing food.
Lifeline Malawi encourages these changes, particularly in the area of maternal and child health. We invite fathers to attend antenatal clinics along with the mother of their child. During these visits, the couple receive vital care, important information about nutrition and care for the expectant mother, and for the unborn child, that will help them to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Both mother and father are also screened during the clinics for such diseases as HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections. Studies have shown improvement in maternal and child health as an outcome of male involvement. We are thankful that the traditional leaders, such as local chiefs, have aided us in this initiative by encouraging the fathers to attend antenatal clinics. We pray that the co-operating chiefs will continue to be influential in their villages to direct behavioral change in the traditional roles that men and women play.
This Lifeline Malawi initiative is bearing fruit. When we began, just over a year ago, only 5% of fathers attended. Now we are seeing about an 80% attendance. Ideally, we would like to have the fathers attend all four visits throughout the pregnancy. With even one visit, the fathers are screened for diseases and given information to sensitize them to the fact that family is about 'working together', about gender equality, and are shown how they can play their part.
The young couple in the photo are teens. We want these young people to attend our clinic without any stigma. They are welcomed with love and compassion and they are especially counselled to meet the needs of a teenage marriage.