Samson (not his name) is a 17-year-old residing in Ndamela, Nsanje district, living with HIV. Prior to his involvement in the Teen Club, he faced significant challenges accessing medical services. Overwhelmed by shyness and fear of stigma, Samson hesitated to collect his ARV medicine at the clinic and engage in other medical services. His concerns about potential discrimination led him to avoid the anti-retroviral therapy room, either accessing services in a separate building or sending a guardian. In some instances, he would visit the facility late in the afternoon or approach staff through the ART room windows. Unfortunately, this behavior resulted in missed ARV drug appointments and poor drug adherence.
In 2022, Emmanuel International Malawi, with funding from the Global Fund through World Vision Malawi, established a Teen Club Clinic at Ndamela Health Center. Health care workers underwent training in Teen Club programming, psychosocial counseling, adherence support techniques, and a youth-friendly approach to health service delivery. The Teen Club clinic, exclusively for adolescents aged 10 to 19 living with HIV, convenes on weekends. Initially hesitant, Samson was encouraged by trained health care workers to join the club tailored for adolescents like him.
Since becoming a part of the Teen Club, Samson's life has undergone a remarkable transformation. He now regularly attends the clinic, exhibits improved adherence, has a suppressed viral load, and actively engages with friends during club activities. Notably, he voluntarily joins his peers at the ART building during all club-related events. Samson expresses gratitude for the Teen Club program, citing its role in helping him cope with his diagnosis, learn about various health topics, and connect with peers in the community who share similar experiences.
Emmanuel International Canada has also supported this project alongside the Malawi team to further the work being done through the partnerships with Emmanuel International Malawi. To support his initiative further please visit our donate page through this link Teen Clubs