Namibia on the win in battle agains HIV

According to Namibia President Hage Geingob last week, Namibia is on the verge of achieving total HIV/AIDS epidemic control in line with the triple 90 goals, with the country’s HIV response standing at ratio of 94:96:95.

Geingob addressing the nation on Thursday, said 94% of HIV-positive patients know their HIV status while 96% are on anti-retroviral treatment whereas 95% of the HIV-positive are virally suppressed.

As a result of this success, Geingob said the prevention of mother to child transmission has also yielded encouraging outcomes, whereby 97% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers are HIV-free.

The US government through its President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) last year committed nearly N$1.2 billion (US$82 million) for HIV programmes rolled out throughout Namibia.

“The cooperation agreement between Namibia and the government of the United States through Pepfar continues to materially support our HIV/AIDS management programmes, which has enabled us to achieve these gains,” further elaborated the head of state.

Since the beginning of Pepfar in Namibia, the US government has invested nearly US$1.2 billion (N$17.8 billion) on HIV programmes in Namibia. Pepfar started its operations on 27 May 2003, and began its work in Namibia in 2005.


US helps Namibia win against HIV - Health - Namibian Sun

The United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS in 2013 set the 90-90-90 goals to ensure 90% of people who are HIV infected are diagnosed, 90% of those diagnosed be on antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those who receive ARVs to be virally suppressed.

The strategy is an attempt to get the HIV epidemic under control and is based on the principle of universal testing and treating.

At the time, 36.7 million people were HIV-positive across the globe. In line with this, the goals would mean that 33.2 million of these people should have been diagnosed, 29.5 million of which are on ARVs and 26.9 million on viral suppression.

In 2018, Namibia was ranked fifth highest in the world in terms of the HIV caseload behind Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, and South Africa.

Furthermore, Geingob said following the outbreak of Hepatitis E in 2017, the rnment has mobilised a national response in 10 regions, providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene, where cases have been reported mostly from informal settlements.

He said 7,703 Hepatitis E cases and 65 deaths have been reported to date. However, he said while Namibia has done relatively well in its response to eliminate malaria, the country is beginning to record some reversals, with an upswing in new cases following the last transmission season of September 2019 to April 2020.

The increase, said the President is due to the good rainfalls and insufficient indoor residual spraying coverage that takes place in malarial areas.

As the country mobilise resources into the immediate public health emergency of Covid-19, Geingob caution stakeholders not to redirect all efforts and funding at the expense of other public healthcare response. “Maintaining a balance will be critical to preserving the gains made,” he said.

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