HIV annual funding cycle to commence in October – PEPFAR to provide US$73.6 million for initiative
The United States of America President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will provide Namibia with US$73.6 million which is a slight increase over current year funding of US$72.3 million to combat HIV in the country.
This was revealed this week at a media information sharing event in Windhoek, which was graced by the United States Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson as well as health experts in the country.
According to Johnson PEPFAR Namibia remains committed to working with the government to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, which means ensuring that 90% of all people living with HIV know their status, that 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on ART, and that 90% of those on treatment achieve a suppressed viral load.
Johnson said the government has made great strides in the fight against HIV and continues to explore various ways of tackling the epidemic.
Currently PEPFAR supports Namibia in three strategic areas: prevention of HIV transmission; care and treatment of people living with HIV and strengthening the public health system to effectively and sustainably respond to the epidemic.
At the event health experts also had the opportunity to reveal the status of the epedemic in the country.
According to data presented the number of HIV-infected persons has dropped from over 15,000 to under 8,000 per year, since PEPFAR began its partnership with the government in 2004.
HIV/AIDS Team Leader, USAID, Dr. Abeje Zegeye in a power point presentation said that the percentage of HIV-positive babies born to HIV-infected mothers since 2004 has also reduced from 30% to below 5%.
Meanwhile despite the drop in cases, Dr. Eric Dziuban, Country Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 1 in every 10 adults in the country is infected by HIV which translates to 220,000 adults living with the virus, while 25 new infections per day occur and 11 deaths related to HIV/AIDS per day.
Currently PEPFAR in the country supports 1,400 healthcare workers at more than 250 health facilities in eight priority regions and nine hotspots.