US funds healthcare mentorship on HIV/Aids

09 Nov 2015 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 NOV (NAMPA) – The United States of America (USA) has committed more than N.dollars 50 million over the next two years to create a cadre of clinical mentors who will help strengthen Namibia’s human resources in public health.
The US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton, made this announcement at the official launch of the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ HIV Clinical and Nurse Mentors’ Programme in Windhoek on Monday.
The programme is being launched during a five-day conference taking place in the capital, which ends on Friday.
“Virtually every professional can tell a story about how a mentor played a key role in his or her development, but perhaps nowhere is mentorship more important than in medicine. This commitment emphasises the value that we place on clinical mentorship,” he noted.
The mentorship programme aims to build the capacity of healthcare providers and institutions for the delivery of high quality and sustainable comprehensive HIV and Opportunistic Infections (OIs) prevention, care and treatment services.
During the five days, healthcare workers will learn how to manage patients with HIV more effectively, how to monitor viral load, and how to use new mobile data collection tools for monitoring and evaluation.
The attendees will also get a sneak-peek at new mobile technology that will enable them to take their cell phone into the field to collect and analyse patient data from their phone.
Daughton stressed that the ultimate goal participants will contribute to, is to achieve the National Strategic Framework target of ensuring that 95 per cent of people living with HIV are on lifesaving treatment by 2017.
“The only way to reach that goal is to rely on networks and decentralisation, in other words, to rely on mentors,” he stressed.
At the same event, in a speech read on his behalf, Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernhard Haufiku said HIV/Aids is still the leading cause of death in Namibia and several thousands of patients are still in need of Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment but are not yet on the lifesaving medication.
“There are individuals who are HIV infected but have not yet been tested and hence don’t know their status. This may lead to the development of resistant HIV/Aids diseases and possible death. This could affect our desired progress to achieve HIV/Aids epidemic control,” he explained.
The expansion of the clinical mentoring programme will clearly increase the penetration of technical support to the remote parts of the country, the minister added.
“Nurses, pharmacy staff and doctors working in the remote rural setting will now cater readily available hands-on technical support,” he said.
The clinical mentor programme is designed to reach almost 40 000 Namibians who are still in need of ARV treatment across the country.