Thokozile (Thoko) Beatrex Phiri, a Malawian advocate for global health, has experienced tremendous loss due to poverty and disease. Losing several family members to HIV-TB co-infection was devastating for Thoko. But her suffering has not silenced her.
As an ambassador for the Global Fund—an institution that financially supports prevention and treatment programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria—Thoko boldly speaks out for those in need of the fund’s lifesaving efforts.
Through the support of the Global Fund and other donors, Thoko’s organization—the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA)—focuses on the education, treatment, and mobilization of Christians and Muslims against HIV/AIDS. This faith-based partnership is not only smart, strategic, and sustainable—it is changing lives.
As part of Sojourners magazine’s August 2013 coverage on health care, assistant editor Elaina Ramsey sat down with Thoko in July 2013 to discuss the urgency of investing in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.—The Editors
Elaina Ramsey: Tell me about your work with the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association.
Thoko Beatrex Phiri: MIAA is an umbrella for various faith-based organizations. In Malawi, 98 percent of the population belongs to one faith or another. The faith communities are on the forefront of HIV, TB, and malaria treatment because of their influence.