Malawi launches its health situation room

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Malawi has become the latest country to launch a health situation room, a software platform designed to help the government make informed decisions about policies and programmes related to health, including HIV.

The innovative tool bolsters national information systems through real-time visualization of information from multiple data sets. It will enable leaders and programme managers to improve health programmes to achieve the 90–90–90 targets, whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads by 2020.

Malawi is making good progress in its response to HIV. In 2017, 90% of people living with HIV in the country knew their status, 71% of people living with HIV had access to treatment and 61% of people living with HIV had a suppressed viral load. Around 1 million people are living with HIV in Malawi, with new HIV infections in 2017 down by 40% since 2010. However, HIV infections among young women and adolescent girls aged 15–24 years remain high and account for more than one in four new infections per year.

In his speech at the launch of the health situation room in the capital, Lilongwe, the President of Malawi, Arthur Peter Mutharika, said the tool was an important step forward.

“The health situation room is a demonstration of my government’s commitment towards accountability and transparency,” said Mr Mutharika. “My desire is that the health situation room will show us where to focus to improve even further in our quest for a healthier Malawi.”

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said the launch would strengthen the country’s health sector.

“The health situation room is an important innovation as it shares real-time data to improve the understanding of the country’s HIV epidemic and other health challenges,” said Mr Sidibé at the launch. “It will guide Malawi’s response and help officials to close the gaps, ensuring that no one is left behind as the country gets on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”