UN Plus Malawi at the UN Health Wellness Day

UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres (middle) leading the candle lighting ceremony at the Health and Wellness Day

The UN Cares Team in Malawi in conjunction with the Resident Coordinator’s Office organized a UN Health Wellness Day on 22nd June 2018 under the theme “my health my responsibility.” One of the activities on the day was the candlelight memorial event where we remembered our loved colleagues who passed on from the HIV epidemic. UN Plus Malawi Chapter facilitated the event and the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Jose Torres lit the first candle alongside Miriam Nyoni, HIV Activist under UN Plus Malawi Chapter. Activities on the day included the provision of Health consultations with specialists (Skin, Eyes, Ears, Note & Throat, Dental, Gynae, Voluntary blood, Sugar, HIV and Syphilis testing, Aerobics and vital signs checks).

UN Plus Malawi Chapter was established in 2005 and was officially launched on 14th June 2006 by the former UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot. This was also the day when the fight against HIV within the UN workplace was taken to the higher level and breakthrough was attained through the brave UN staff members came out open about their HIV positive sero-status to tackle stigma and discrimination within the UN Malawi workplace. The chapter has leadership structures and operates under the UN Cares Programme which is fully funded by the UN Malawi through common services budget under the Operations Management Team. The Chapter has 21 members drawn from UNAIDS, UNDP, FAO, UNFPA, UNDSS, WFP and UNICEF. 

Major achievements

  • UN Plus Malawi Chapter enjoys managerial support and commitment.
  • Great partnership and working relationship with UN Cares.
  • Recognition and engagement at Country level. The chapter is registered with Malawi Networks of People Living with HIV and AIDS (MANET+) which is an umbrella body for PLHIV in Malawi. The chapter has secured a seat on MANET+ Board of Trustees.
  • The chapter has successfully fielded three candidates to the UN Plus Global Advisory Group and excelled to Chair the Advisory Group during the year 2015 and was the Vice Chairperson during the years 2013 to 2014 and from 2016 to 2017.
  • The Chapter also engages in national response activities mainly with churches to help tackle faith healing and stigma and discrimination by conducting candlelight memorial services within which motivational speeches are delivered and HIV information shared. 

The UN Plus Malawi Chapter intends to reach out to all UN Personnel and their dependents who are living with HIV to encourage them, embrace them, and assure them that there is positive life with dignity after testing HIV positive. UN personnel should not live in denial. A positive result would not alter who you are.

A group of young people disseminating HIV and AIDS related messages through a song at the Health and Wellness Day

If you have any comments on any of the contents of this article, please send them to us. If you also would like to be featured in the interview or would like to contribute an article, please contact us at unplus@unaids.org.

Message from UN Plus Global Coordinator

It has been more than 10 years since UN Plus was founded by a group of HIV-positive United Nations (UN) staff members.

UN Plus is an advocacy group with an aim to improve the UN work environment for staff members who live with HIV and work around the globe. The group also provides peer support on a variety of issues, ranging from access to treatment to career development.
Since its establishment UN Plus has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience about “HIV in the workplace” policies and programs through its advocacy and support activities. This newsletter serves to share them not only internally in the UN system, but also with like-minded individuals, groups and organizations outside of the UN system who support people living with HIV in work settings.

We welcome any views and comments that you may have on articles and topics presented in this newsletter. Our hope is that this newsletter becomes a space to exchange experience and knowledge that will help improve work environment for people living with HIV. We would also appreciate it if you could forward this newsletter to those who may be interested in HIV in the workplace issues.

Yoshiyuki John Oshima
UN Plus Global Coordinator

Please send your comments, suggestions and questions to: unplus@unaids.org.