By the Villager Newspaper
Today at the World AIDS Day commemoration in Luderitz, US Ambassador Thomas Daughton announced that through its bilateral PEPFAR program, the United States will continue fighting HIV/AIDS in Namibia along with the Namibian government and its people.
Over the past year, the US pledged US$46 million (N$640 million) to the fight. Daughton announced today that the US is pledging an additional US$34 million (N$ 475 million) for a 2-year acceleration plan, which totals a N$1 billion committment to the Namibian health sector by the US Government.
“For more than a decade, the United States has been Namibia’s unwavering partner in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I am here today to tell you that our partnership is stronger than ever,” Daughton said.
The money will be put towards the Ministry of Health and Social Services new Combination Prevention Strategy. Launched today, “the strategy includes free and confidential HIV counselling and testing, free anti-retroviral therapy for every individual living with HIV and free voluntary medical male circumcision to prevent the spread of the virus,” Daughton explained.
“As we look forward to our investment in new strategies in the coming year, I want to point out that we’re able to take these bold new steps because of the accomplishments the Namibian government and Namibian people have already made in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Those accomplishments have put Namibia on the path to realizing an AIDS-free generation and explain why Namibia is considered a role model,” Daughton said.
Daughton cited the immense effort of Namibians in battling the epidemic.
“Our collective success story and our memories of individuals who have fought the good fight remind us of the difference that ordinary citizens can make. We must continue to draw from their inspiration and stand up for the rights of people who haven’t yet had the opportunity to realize their potential.
"That’s why I want to encourage each of you to think about what you can do individually and what we can to do together to make the dream of ‘Zero new HIV infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS-Related deaths’ a reality in Namibia. Working together, we can do it!” Daughton emphasised.