Kamwi on progress of HIV/AIDS fight in Namibia

19 Jun 2013 11:20
WINDHOEK, 19 JUN (NAMPA) - The Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi says Namibia has passed the crucial programmatic tipping point where the annual increase in adults on HIV/AIDS treatment exceeds the annual number of adult infections.
The minister, who was speaking at the tenth anniversary of the United States (US) President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Washington DC in the United States on Tuesday, said 120 000 Namibians living with HIV who are on treatment represent an estimated coverage of 87 per cent at a CD4 eligibility threshold of 350.
He noted that more than 83 per cent of HIV exposed infants receive an HIV test within six weeks of birth, and the mother-to-child HIV transmission rate at six weeks is less than three per cent.
He explained that these achievements were made because Namibia had an infusion of financial, human and technical resources at a critical juncture in the epidemic.
Kamwi added that his ministry benefited from Government leadership and commitment from the President down to local constituency, community leaders and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
But most importantly, Namibia benefited from the global partnership with the US, which provided the financial resources necessary for Namibia to mount a forceful and effective response to HIV/AIDS.
?What I am describing here is the concept of shared responsibility. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is far too big and complex for any one country to tackle on its own,? he noted.
According to Kamwi, in the 21st century, people are increasingly inter-connected, so much so that disease raging in one part of the world poses a threat to people living elsewhere.
He said with the launch of PEPFAR in Namibia, AIDS-related sickness and death began to give way to life and hope.
Over the past decade, the financial resources dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS, particularly from PEPFAR, has been truly transformational, he added.
?With support from PEPFAR, the Global Fund and sizable investments by the Namibian Government, we have built infrastructure and strengthened our human and institutional capacity to combat HIV/AIDS,?he said.
Namibia also made significant gains against tuberculosis (TB) which affects people living with HIV at an alarming rate, he said, adding that Namibia is on the threshold of eliminating malaria within the country's borders.