Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Programme

Beach clinics are cardinal in addressing schistosomiasis and HIV, MLW’s FISH Study hints.

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Beach clinics are cardinal in addressing schistosomiasis and HIV, MLW’s FISH Study hints.

Malawi Liverpool Wellcome (MLW) Programme’s study has identified beach clinics as key to increasing Schistosomiasis and HIV Services uptake among fishermen.

This has been disclosed during the research dissemination meeting for the study titled” Creating Fishermen’s demand for Schistosomiasis and HIV Services (FISH)”, that MLW organized on 30th May 2023, in Mangochi district.

Dr. Augustine Choko, the lead researcher for FISH Study, said the beach clinics erected in course of the study significantly helped in reducing schistosomiasis cases, raising demand for HIV testing and treatment as well as voluntary male medical circumcision.

“Schistosomiasis burden was reduced from 44-Percent to 12-Percent overall after treating fishermen for the same within a month. HIV testing and referral for HIV treatment and voluntary male medical circumcision increased overall as well. Thus, uptake of services has been increased through the beach clinics.” Said Dr. Choko.

According to FISH Study Lead who is also the head of Public Health Research Group at MLW, the underlining goal of the study was to create demand for Schistosomiasis and HIV Services among fishermen a thing he says has been achieved.

It has been noted that despite the existing policy and provision of Schistosomiasis and HIV services in government health facilities there is underutilisation of the service by target group, fishermen, due to the nature of their work.

Fishermen spend their night and most of their day at the lake which makes it hard for them to go and seek medical help.

Representing the District Health Officer (DHO), Mangochi District Hospital Administrator Dr. Innocent Lanjesi said the findings of the study will positively impact the policy in the district.

He said the research findings will help in the planning and allocation of Schistosomiasis and HIV services.

“We are very proud of these research findings; they will help us in the fight against Schistosomiasis and HIV which are highly prevalent in the district. We thank MLW for this research. It is very relevant and timely it will inform policy for controlling and managing these diseases, “said Dr. Lanjesi.

Group Village Headman Chindongo of Traditional Authority Namkumba in Mangochi District says FISH Study transformed the living in his area as Fishermen were able to access medical care at their convenience.

“My community has really benefited from FISH-Study, during the research period a lot of fishermen have been able to receive Schistosomiasis and HIV services which were made available within their workplaces. This is very crucial for the development of the families, communities, and the Country in general,” said Group Village Headman Chindingo.

Fish Study has been conducted in Mangochi district since 2021 with Fishermen being the primary target.


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