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Sex workers’ access to health care in Lilongwe, Malawi

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Research indicates that sex workers have a high disease burden, especially in terms of HIV and AIDS, which necessitates preventative care and timely treatment. In Lilongwe, Malawi sex workers encounter barriers that limit their access to these services, which affects not only their health but also the health of their clients. To date, however, information about these barriers and how to address them has been lacking. Through interviews with sex workers and representatives from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other non-state agencies, this project identified both structural and social barriers to health care. Accordingly, the research proposes five comprehensive policy options: creating a sex worker network, providing mHealth, introducing a peer-mentoring scheme, training and sensitizing health professionals, and utilizing a health voucher system for private care. It underscores that all stakeholders, including sex workers, government, and NGOs, should be involved in creating better access to health services for sex workers.
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