HIV and AIDS has wrecked havoc to humanity. Different organizations have come out to fight against the pandemic. However, lack of accessible HIV and AIDS information for Deaf in Malawi makes them vulnerable to the disease. There is rarely any Malawi Sign Language (MSL) interpretation available on televised HIV and AIDS programs. Programs on radio leave out the Deaf people since they cannot hear. Newspapers are inaccessible to the Deaf who are uneducated. Moreover, newspapers cost money. Voluntary Testing and Counseling services are not accessible because counselors do not know Sign Language.

So MANAD, with funding from United States government through US embassy in Malawi implemented Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to combat HIV and AIDS in the Deaf communities.

The project, titled HIV and AIDS Information and Education, was carried out from February to December, 2011. During the course of the project, MANAD trained 21 doctors and nurses from Malawi’s major hospital Kamuzu Central Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

The aim of the training was to prepare doctors and nurses especially those from HIV and AIDS counseling departments to deal with the Deaf clients without the presence of the Sign language interpreters. The training was also aimed at bequeathing unique communication needs to the next generation of doctors and nurses on how to communicate and provide better counsel to Deaf clients. Some of the funds from the project were used in the production of HIV and AIDS education materials like posters. There were outreach activities where Deaf children at Maryview and Mountainview Schools for the Deaf together with Deaf communities at Bangwe Weaving Factory and students at secondary schools, Mulanje and Thyolo had an opportunity to learn more about HIV and AIDS through video shows that sparked questions and debates.

In order to appreciate MANAD’s works, US ambassador to Malawi, Jeannine Jackson visited MANAD headquarters on 21st September, 2011. She expressed dissatisfaction with the progress and performance of the US funded project.

Despite efforts made by the US embassy, many Deaf communities in the country are yet to be reached on HIV and AIDS issues. Again, most doctors are still struggling to communicate with the Deaf clients at other district and rural hospitals across the country.