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October 03, 2016 | Africa: Malawi

Traditional Leaders in Malawi Support Family Health Forums

By Romi Reinecke

Senior traditional chief Kameme addresses the special training session geared towards the importance of Family Health Forums for persons with intellectual disability, their families and communities.

Traditional leaders have joined the Family Health Forums team of Special Olympics Malawi! In order to bring Family Health Forums to the Chitipa district, traditional leaders received sensitization training on people with intellectual disability. The leaders helped Special Olympics identify 98 new family members to take part. The Chitipa district is in northern Malawi at Kameme, bordering Tanzania and Zambia. National Sports Director Doris Suwedi had a special targeted session with traditional leaders on the meaning of intellectual disability. She highlighted how it is different from mental illness. During the training, senior Chief Kameme said “people with intellectual disabilities in various villages are usually labelled with strongly negative words, increasing discrimination. Even families sometimes abuse their own children who have intellectual disabilities, taking advantage of their condition.” The chiefs joined together at the forum, as well as representatives from Malawi's Ministry of Health.

About Romi Reinecke: I am a Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications at Special Olympics Africa.
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