Johnson motivates Community Adherence Groups

05 Sep 2019 19:20pm
ONDJONGOLUME, 05 SEP (NAMPA) – More than 3 200 people in eight health districts now receive their HIV medication through Tonata’s 322 Community Adherence Groups (CAG), the United States of America’s Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson said Thursday.
Johnson made the remarks at an occasion celebrating the adherence groups’ achievements at Ondjongolume village in the Omusati Region’s Otamanzi Constituency on Thursday.
“If it were not for the CAG, many people would face difficulties in obtaining their medication and staying on treatment,” she said.
Johnson said the groups represent a real community achievement and save lives.
She said the support of the groups also mean patients are now able to get HIV medication in their respective villages, saving them precious time and money.
“Through these groups, the work of staying healthy and on treatment becomes a shared responsibility,” she said.
Johnson explained how CAGs are a simple and effective community-based model, whereby locally organised groups of approximately a dozen stable patients select one or two of their members to go to the local health facility and collect HIV medication for everyone in the group.
These group members then return home and distribute the medication to the other members.
The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funds the CAG’s activities, supporting Tonata, which is a network of people living with HIV.
“You are leaders in this programme and I would like to encourage other Namibians to take up the opportunity made possible through these PEPFAR-funded activities to organise themselves and contact Tonata or their nearest health facility to see if they can join this programme,” said Johnson.
Executive Director for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, in a speech delivered on his behalf said USAID through Tonata has managed to establish the 322 CAGs with 3 288 members in districts like Oshikuku, Engela, Onandjokwe, Omuthiya, Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Andara and Nyangana.
“Our responsibilities as a ministry is to make sure that antiretroviral (ARV) services are accessible and available at all times,” said Nangombe.
To mitigate the impact of the virus, the ministry revised and updated National Guidelines for ARV therapy in 2016, whereby community-based ARV therapy (ART) delivery strategies for stable patients on ART was adapted as key to meet the 90-90-90 targets.