US to help expand ART services for HIV positive

25 Feb 2016 15:10pm
RUNDU, 25 FEB (NAMPA) – The Unites States (US) Government and Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services have reached an agreement to scale up the identification of HIV-positive people who do not know their status.
The agreement will also benefit those who have been lost to care, US Ambassador to Namibia Thomas Daughton said when he visited the Nkarapamwe Clinic, which is supported by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), here on Wednesday.
He said these individuals will be put on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) to extent their lifetime while living with the pandemic.
The ambassador visited the clinic to familiarise himself with, amongst others, the work of nurses and HIV/Aids field extension workers to gain first-hand experience of health projects supported by the US Government at grassroots level.
Staff members spoke of challenges at the clinic such as over crowdedness, a lack of transport and a shortage of staff members.
Daughton said his team is going to help the Ministry of Health over the next two years to expand efforts to identify HIV-positive individuals and put them on ART.
What this also means for a clinic such as Nkarapamwe, he said, is that staffing and facility gaps will be identified.
“Part of the scaling up will include improvement of the health facilities so that you have the space to do the work you need to do,” he said.
Other developments will include the hiring of more nurses; data clerks; community counsellors; and pharmacist assistants to fill the existing gaps.
Daughton said he also visited health facilities in the Zambezi Region as from Monday, stating that the Rundu State Hospital is the most impressive of the facilities he visited.
“I am glad to see that kind of foundation is here because we are going to need to build on that in order to expand treatment of people with HIV in Namibia,” he said.
Kavango East Director of Health Timeya Ngwira thanked the ambassador for the good news, noting the spirit of hard work amongst staff members is high, and they just need to be supported.