Nam’s fight against HIV/AIDS gets boost from USAID

The Government of Namibia, represented by Hon. Tom Alweendo, the Minister of Economic Planning and Director General of the National Planning Commission, joined by Hon. Juliet Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, and the United States Government, represented by Mr. John Groarke, the Director of the USAID Southern Africa Regional Mission, and H.E. Thomas Daughton, the US Ambassador to Namibia, signed an amendment to the 2007 bilateral grant agreement to add N$435 million of funding under the US Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

NDP5 identified the importance of building capable and healthy human resources, accelerating the development of human capabilities in the health sector and address the shortage of health infrastructure facilities.

While Namibia, like most of the countries in Southern Africa, is affected by the scourge of HIV/AIDS and related health problems, the country has remarkable strides in the reduction of new infection. The distribution of anti-retroviral drugs and population coverage, which has lessened the negative impact that HIV/AIDS could potentially have on the socio-economy landscape. For example, Namibia has significantly reduced maternal and neonatal mortality. Both infant and under-five mortality has declined. HIV/AIDS in pregnant women has reduced from a peak of 22% in 2002 to 16.9% in 2014.

Since 2010, the US Government development assistance to Namibia has focused on the HIV epidemic, with USAID supporting the Government of Namibia’s national HIV response. This work includes general HIV testing and treatment, prevention measures, capacity building and logistics support.

All of these elements are essential for Namibia to be able to reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals (90% of all Namibians infected with HIV know their status, 90% of those individuals are on treatment, and 90% of those on treatment are non-infectious). When this is achieved and sustained, the HIV epidemic will officially be considered under control. Namibia is close to achieving this goal.

Hon. Alweendo noted during the signing that “to achieve Namibia’s development aspirations, it is important for us to ensure that our development partnerships have real impact on our development challenges.” The Minister further thanked the US Government for the continuous support in the health sector.