The Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a U.S. governmental initiative implemented to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, has availed 1 billion Namibian dollars (about 76 million U.S. dollars) to the Namibian government as part of the fight against HIV in the country.
According to Thomas Daughton, U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, the funds will be channeled to programs geared towards the fight against HIV and AIDS.
These include male circumcision, mother-to-child transmission, counselling and testing, support for orphans and vulnerable children as well as adult/ pediatric care and treatment.
The funding assistance will help Namibia achieve the UNAIDS goals of the targeted 90 percent success on testing, diagnosis and treatment under the initiative.
“Namibia is closer to achieving the goals than any other country under this programme, however there are still gaps to be closed,” said Daughton here on Friday.
Namibia has made good progress towards achieving the target, currently standing at achieved 84-86 percent.
Despite progress made, challenges still persist.
“The problem that we now face is that of the people that are left that still have to be identified – who are the ones that are the hardest to be found. They live out in the middle of nowhere in the country or they do not want to be identified, particularly with young men. Young men don’t not want to get tested and know their status, which is a problem. Because in order to achieve the targets, we would have to identify them and get them on treatment,” said Daughton.
Meanwhile, the Ambassador called on commitment from all parties in order to achieve 90 percent target through joint partnerships and enhanced engagement.
“We will continue to engage with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and all key stakeholders and will engage in efforts to make sure that the programs become sustainable,” he said.
The Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is a U.S. governmental initiative implemented to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, mainly in Africa. Namibia has benefited from the PEPFAR since 2014. Enditem