TB and HIV co-infection remains a challenge: Kamwi

09 Jul 2013 10:10
WINDHOEK, 09 JUL (NAMPA) - Multi-drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) and HIV co-infection remain a challenge in Namibia, Health and Social Services? Minister Dr Richard Kamwi said on Tuesday.
Kamwi was speaking during the signing ceremony of a more than N.dollars 1,2 billion (US dollars 120 million) agreement for HIV/AIDS and malaria between the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and his ministry here.
?MDR TB and HIV co-infection remain a challenge. But Namibia cannot do it alone.
It is for this reason that we remain extremely grateful to our development partners, namely the Global Fund, the USA President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the European Union (EU), and technical support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others,? he noted.
Apart from treatment, care and support, Kamwi reiterated prevention through voluntary male circumcision and awareness campaigns to minimize the further spread of HIV infections.
Treatment has been provided to 120 000 HIV-positive Namibians, representing an estimated coverage of 87 per cent at the CD4 eligibility threshold of 350.
CD4 cells or T-cells are the ?generals? of the human immune system. These are the cells which send signals to activate the body?s immune response when they detect ?intruders?, like viruses or bacteria.
Kamwi said 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 thus expressed the hope that Namibia should be living proof of a global community working towards the realisation of an ?AIDS-free generation?.
Government has also continued to honour its commitment by the regular allocation of resources for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other diseases.
?Whilst acknowledging that these are some of the impressive results on the African continent, it should equally be emphasised that the war against the infection rate is not yet over,? he stressed.