09.01.2008 Health

Malawians with HIV get pay rise

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After years of silence about the HIV issue and a crisis that Malaysia faced in 2004, the government finally decided to do something about the raging menace that seemed to be silently robbing the country and the world at large of its productive population.

Malawians were therefore during 2007, urged to take an HIV test.

Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunjeb said all civil servants affected by the disease would now receive an extra $35 a month to help them buy more food.

"We thought it would go a long way in improving their nutritional requirements which are essential to their wellbeing," she told Reuters.

Tens of thousands of Malawians die of Aids every year with about 7% of the 13m population infected.

Another government official said that the extra money should help those with HIV prolong their lives since losing large numbers of trained staff is a major problem for countries, particularly those in Africa worst affected by HIV/Aids, such as Malawi.

According to a report, the Malawian government is the country's largest employer with about 120,000 civil servants and monthly salaries average about $70.

The UN estimates that 80% of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa do not know they have the virus.


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