Malawi health officials put HIV negative woman on ARV treatment

An HIV negative woman in Mulanje who was erroneously put on Ant-Retroviral Therapy (ART) for three years by a health worker has taken government to court after it failed to meet her K30 million compensation demand.

In 2013, the woman Agnes Jumbe underwent a mandatory HIV test at Thuchira Health Centre in line with Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) strategy.

“It was recorded in my health passport book that I was HIV negative but in the ART book it was recorded that I was positive and I was instantly put on ART,” she told us two years ago.

When Agnes fell pregnant again in 2016, she went to the same health facility where her HIV result came out negative and numerous tests, including one which was conducted at Community Health Sciences Unit (CHSU) in Lilongwe revealed that the woman was HIV negative.

The then District Health Officer in Mulanje, Dr. Khuliena Kabwere, acknowledged the matter and described it as a clerical error and he apologized to the woman.

On 25th June, 2018 the woman, through her lawyer William Chiwaya, wrote a compensation demand letter of K30 million to Attorney General for damages on pain and suffering, humiliation, past, present and future bodily complications for erroneously putting her on ART.

The letter gave Attorney General an ultimatum of 90 days to respond to the demand and counsel Chiwaya says his client received no any response from the Attorney General.

Now the matter has been taken to Lilongwe High Court Civil Division under the Civil Case File Number 867 of 2018.

The summon, dated 18th October, 2018 commands the Attorney General to satisfy the court with claims or file defense.

Spokesperson in Ministry of Justice Pilirani Masanjala said he will comment when he sees the summon

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