Namibia yet to achieve its 90-90-90 goal

06 Jun 2018 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 06 JUN (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) is yet to attain the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Global Fast Track targets aimed at ensuring that HIV is suppressed by 2020.
The UNAIDS goal aims to ensure that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their status, that 90 per cent of that population receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and that 90 per cent of that population have a suppressed viral load.
MoHSS Director of Special Programmes, Anne-Marie Nitschke said this during the launch of the revised National Guidelines on HIV Testing Services (HTS) here on Wednesday.
“There is a gap between the targeted number and what the survey found so far and this is why the ministry decided to revise the guidelines, which will now target a greater population of men and young women,” Nitschke told the media on the sidelines.
According to her, only close to 78 per cent (243 000) of the targeted 90 per cent of undiagnosed people know their HIV status so far, according to preliminary statistics from the Namibia population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey.
The statistics also indicated that the Zambezi Region has the highest HIV prevalence rate with 23,5 per cent, followed by Omusati and the Kavango regions with 17,4 and 17 per cent, respectively.
The HTS Guidelines review was necessitated by the programme’s move from emergency response programming to a more sustainable and evidence-based one.
Its main goal is also to ensure early identification of as many people as possible with HIV and effectively linking them to prevention, care and treatment services.
Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna at the same event highlighted that the ministry has committed to not only increasing testing coverage for the population, but also prioritised on strategies and testing initiatives that will identify people living with undiagnosed HIV.
“We all know that the HTS uptake coverage has significantly increased over the years and so have different types of testing models, which have evolved from traditional stand-alone voluntary counselling and testing to a mixture of models, including index partner testing,” she said.