Number of HIV patients living on antiretroviral therapy grows- Haufiku

24 Apr 2018 15:10pm

Health minister Bernard Haufiku has disclosed that the number of Namibians living with HIV on and receiving ant-retroviral therapy has gone up from 70% to 76% in the last financial year.

Statistics show that an estimated 250 000 Namibians are living with HIV which constitutes 10% of the entire population.

According to PEPFAR, HIV/AIDS remains the number one killer in Namibia with up to 3,900 deaths per year and the budget allocation for Namibia for the financial year 2018/19 for mother to child transmission, adult and pediatric care and treatment as well as prevention et al is approximately N$1 billion

They continue to face challenges such as stigma and discrimination in the continent's communities, even 38 years after HIV was discovered.

Speaking at a World AIDS commemoration day in Zambezi last year, the minister himself said, ““In 2017 alone, more than 3 200 Namibians will die from the effects of HIV and AIDS.”

The minister has also revealed that in the previous year, 98% of TB patients were tested for HIV, 94% for TB/HIV while co-infected patients were on antiretroviral therapy and 99% put on cotrimoxazole preventative therapy.

In the same vein the coverage for PMTCT services currently stands at 96% and the rate of mother-to-child transmission has declined from 12% in 2010/11 to 4% in the previous year.

This comes at a time when the minister motivated a budget allocation of an amount of N$76 million for public health.

“The program is to ensure that Namibia has an efficient public health system with programs aimed at reducing the incidences of diseases and disability, improvement of maternal and child health, food and nutrition, prevent non-communicable and communicable diseases, promote environmental and occupational health as well as the reduction and control of mortalities,” he said.

On social welfare, an amount of N$25 million has been requested.

The minister said this should enable Namibians to access services equally and retain independency, control and dignity.

This includes activities such as the promotion of family well-being, substance abuse treatment and prevention, administering policies and legislation for the registration and operations of welfare organisations and institutions for the care, protection of the vulnerable and rehabilitation of those in need.