Private sector 'should play critical role in response to HIV'

13 Jul 2013 04:50
WINDHOEK, 13 JUL (NAMPA) ? The Namibia Networks of AIDS Service Organisations (Nanaso) has appealed to the private sector to play a critical role in the response to HIV/AIDS.
?Namibians should rise up and contribute to the response to HIV/AIDS, especially the private sector. Many private institutions deny basic services to HIV/AIDS sufferers. We need to be sensitive and help them,? Nanaso Executive Director Sandi Tjarondo said in an interview with Nampa on Friday.
Human capital represents one of the most important economic assets of any country. Tjarondo said HIV/AIDS is not just a cost, but also an investment, preventing or limiting sickness or absenteeism, and controlling workforce health risks.
He raised the concern that many HIV/AIDS patients have lost their jobs and homes, and many are displaced, but also said access to HIV prevention, testing and counselling, treatment and care services in Namibia has expanded dramatically. This progress demonstrates how Namibia can overcome health and development challenges through commitment, investment and collective action.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and the Namibian Government signed a more than N.dollars 1,2 billion (US dollars 120 million) grant agreement to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria for a three-year period (2013 to 2016) on Tuesday.
Tjarondo said despite the grant, the response to HIV/AIDS is a very expensive exercise.
About N.dollars 200 million (US dollars 20 million) is earmarked for Nanaso, the principle recipient, who will then share the funds amongst various sub-recipients, which include HIV organisations that are the implementers of the HIV programmes.
The programmes will focus on five high-impact interventions: treatment, care and support; prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT); scaling-up of voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC); basic prevention packages for men who have sex with men, and sex workers; and cross-cutting activities such as strategic and targeted behavioural change communication, HIV counselling and testing, and condom promotion and distribution.
According to Tjarondo, discussions between Nanaso and the GFATM about the recipients of the funds are in the final stages and might be concluded by next week.