Gender-based violence (GBV) instances are now being reported by women in Blantyre District, one of the areas that were most severely affected by Cyclone Freddy last month.
The district’s gender office has documented incidences of sexual harassment and gender-based violence (GBV) among flood survivors in camps.
STI Rates in Malawi
Infections that are spread through sexual contact are among the most common in the world. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are thought to cause 376 million new infections per year. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) genital infection is thought to affect more than 500 million people, and human papillomavirus infection affects more than 290 million women.
Close to 80% of STIs that can be treated happen in developing nations. The prevalence of these STIs is higher in adolescents and young adults.
STIs and associated sequelae are among the most common causes for individuals to seek medical care in poor nations like Malawi
Among women of child-bearing age, curable STIs account for a bigger number of disability-adjusted life-years lost than any other group of disorders, save for maternity-related conditions.
HIV transmission is recognised as being at risk due to sexually transmitted infections .  and statistics made public by UNAID (2001)  revealed that the prevalence of HIV among male STI patients in Malawi’s major cities reached a high of 54.8% and presently ranges from 37.7% to 70%.
Over the years, a study in Malawi found that 15% of women and 10% of men between the ages of 15 and 49 reported having an STI or at least exhibiting its symptoms. Most STIs are symptomless or mildly symptomatic.
According to Blantyre District Health Office Health Promotion Officer, Chrissy Banda, “We have heard from the gender office that there is gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation happening in camps. This is a worrisome development and we are encouraging everyone experiencing these malpractices in camps to report to relevant authorities.”
“Our fear is that, if the gender-based violence remains unchecked and unreported, it may fuel the further spread of sexually transmitted infections, which may affect health services. So, we are pleading with them to report anything they encounter in the camps and even in our communities,” she added.
Malawi is still suffering from the effects of the most severe tropical cyclone the country has ever experienced, which hit 15 districts in the country’s south, causing more than 500,000 people to be displaced and taking more than 500 lives.
At the height of the Cyclone Freddy tragedy, there were 92 evacuation camps; today, only 27 remain.
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