Political, Economic Tensions In Malawi Threaten New HIV/AIDS Strategy

In a guest post on the GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Janet Fleischman, a senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, describes the Malawian government’s “plans to launch a ‘test and treat’ program in which all HIV-infected pregnant women will immediately be put on antiretroviral treatment (ART) drugs for life.” But she adds that “[t]he growing political and economic crisis in Malawi, highlighted by the government’s use of force against peaceful demonstrators last week, could also imperil the groundbreaking expansion of Malawi’s national HIV/AIDS program.”

“The implementation of Malawi’s new strategy faces many challenges,” but “the new approach also presents opportunities to address HIV/AIDS in Malawi,” she writes. “It is not clear what impact [the political and economic situation] will have on the relationship between the government of Malawi and its key international donors,” Fleischman says, concluding, “What is clear is that Malawi cannot hope to achieve its new HIV/AIDS targets without significant international support” (7/29).