Pohamba urges healthcare providers to help fathers

29 Aug 2013 08:20
OSHAKATI, 29 AUG (NAMPA) – President Hifikepunye Pohamba has called on healthcare providers to continue facilitating male involvement in maternal health services, including in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) treatment for HIV.
Pohamba made this call as he officially launched the third phase of the First Lady’s Campaign on Male Involvement in PMTCT at Oshakati here on Thursday.
He said healthcare providers must at all times strive to encourage men to be involved in maternal health services, so that they can be educated on the risks they pose to themselves, their partners and children.
The Head of State said ignorance should no longer be an excuse, and he demanded that Namibian men must stand up and empower themselves with information that will enable them to become a supportive force for the uptake of PMTCT, as well as compliance to the programme for maternal and child health services.
The President also acknowledged the hard work of healthcare providers, which they carry out under difficult circumstances. He added that Namibia is where it is today, with improved trends in HIV/AIDS and other diseases, because of the commitment of stakeholders.
“Let us continue making concerted efforts, as a people, to join hands with our development partners and other stakeholders, including the First Lady, to accelerate the elimination of new HIV infections, stigma and AIDS-related deaths for the sake of our current and future generations,” Pohamba urged.
He further stated that healthcare providers, irrespective of their cultural and traditional beliefs, should do their “professional best” and reach out to men in the areas of PMTCT, maternal and child health, and other health services.
“Make it your mission to create a conducive and male-friendly environment to help us, men, deal with our reluctance to participate in health programmes and to break our resistance to being tested for HIV,” the Head of State told the healthcare providers.
He, on the other hand, urged men to overcome their fears and get actively involved in maternal and child health services, and to remember that the greatest gift a man can give his children is to show love and support to their mother.
Speaking at the same event, First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba noted that the Ministry of Health and Social Services reported that in 2010, only 3.6 per cent of male partners of women who attended ante-natal care got tested for HIV, in comparison to 96 per cent of women who got tested.
The First Lady also wants men and women to make a concerted effort to participate and enhance aggressive implementation of PMTCT and the Programme for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Namibia (PARMaCM).
President Pohamba officiated at the first phase of the First Lady’s Campaign for Male Involvement in PMTCT and Maternal and Child Health Care in the Khomas Region in 2011. This was followed by the second phase in the Zambezi Region last year.
The third phase of the campaign, which was launched at Oshakati on Thursday, targets mostly the northern regions of Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto.