Progress against HIV/AIDS made, but inadequate gaps around testing remain – Health Ministry
By Clifton Movirongo.
The Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe on Tuesday said the country has made significant progress in the fight against HIV, but several challenges remain, particularly around HIV testing among key populations and young people.
Nangombe said this at a handover ceremony of over 6.9 million condoms and 2.6 million lubricants valued at N$4,248,172 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“I am pleased to state that the ministry has been working tirelessly, along with our partners, towards closing these gaps, to reach HIV epidemic control and to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” he expressed.
Nangombe emphasised that the ministry is motivated by the progress made on the global fast track targets and 95-95-95 cascade.
“Our programme data shows that 92% of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) know their status, 99% are on treatment, and 93% of those receiving treatment are virally suppressed. This is a great achievement and puts Namibia on track to reach the 95-95-95 Targets by 2030. The people and our development partners and stakeholders deserve to be commended for this joint accomplishment,” he stated.
“Namibia needs to secure HIV related commodities and to strengthen HIV prevention measures. It is not often mentioned, but important to remember that the 2030 targets include the reduction of new infections too. are directly responsible for helping the world reach the target of 200,000 or fewer infections by the year 2030,” said Nangombe.
Meanwhile, the condoms and lubricants were procured with funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Global Health Supply Chain Program.
The commodities will go to the KP-STAR project, which supports 75 facilities in and around Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Oshikango, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Rundu, and Katima Mulilo. In addition to providing condoms, KP-STAR is the only project that distributes lubricants to key populations in the country.