Over 90% of babies born HIV negative: Kamwi

21 May 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) – Health and Social Services Minister Richard Kamwi says 97 per cent of babies born from HIV-positive mothers in Namibia were born HIV-negative over the last decade.
Richard Kamwi said this in a speech he delivered during the 67th Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.
The 67th Session of the World Health Assembly started on Monday and ends this Saturday, and is taking place at the Palais des Nations.
In the statement, availed to Nampa on Wednesday, Kamwi said the political will in Namibia over the last decade has resulted in a rapid scaling up of both anti-retroviral and preventative treatment against Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV, adding that this has reduced new infections by 50 per cent and decreased Mother-to-Child Transmission from 32 per cent to four per cent.
“We are committed to increasing domestic contributions from the current level of 60 per cent and continue to focus on high impact interventions to sustain the current gains,” he stated.
The minister further noted that the country has consistently experienced a decline in the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases and has maintained a treatment success rate of 85 per cent.
He said between 2008 and 2013, TB cases dropped by 21 per cent; and TB and HIV co-infection rates also declined from 59 per cent to 45 per cent.
Kamwi however noted that the challenge related to Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) still remains, thus he called for continued technical support from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The minister further noted that Namibia is one of four southern Africa countries with a high potential to eliminate malaria, adding that since 2001, both malaria incidences and mortality have declined significantly.
“As a result, Namibia is now in a pre-elimination phase and has successfully met Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Six,” he said. MDG Six deals with the combating of HIV/AIDS,
Malaria and other diseases.
Kamwi said maternal and child health is also one of the key priorities on the Namibian health agenda. A partnership between the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the European Union (EU) and WHO has been established to maximise progress, complement national efforts and accelerate the achievements of MDG Goals Four and Five – the reduction of child mortality and improving maternal health.
The World Health Assembly is the annual meeting of the WHO’s 194 Member States and is its highest decision-making body. It sets out the organisation’s policy and approves its budget.