US commits multimillions to AIDS fight

Pepfar will sustain its investment to provide comprehensive support to over 37 000 orphans and vulnerable children and adolescents in 18 districts.

07 October 2021 | Health

STAFF REPORTER







WINDHOEK

The United States has pledged more than US$90 million towards Namibia’s fight against HIV/AIDS next year.

Yesterday, US embassy Chargé d’Affaires Jess Long announced the US$90.4 million contribution through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) to assist Namibian authorities’ efforts in 2022.

This is an increase from US$89 million contributed in 2021.

The multimillion funding assistance will intensify the country’s efforts to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“Namibia has made strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is a global leader in nearing epidemic control. Pepfar supports a number of different interventions that will bring Namibia closer to epidemic control and strengthen Namibia’s healthcare system,” Long said.

“In 2022, Pepfar Namibia will support the health ministry to further scale up interventions which began in 2021, including programmes addressing mental and emotional health in patients on anti-retroviral therapy (ART).”

Additional activities included in the 2022 investment are support for recency testing, which is a procedure that shows healthcare workers how recently a person was infected with HIV.

Funding for 2022 will also support the health ministry to set up an SMS reminder service to send messages to ART patients when they need to collect their medicine.

Comprehensive support

Furthermore, Pepfar will sustain its investment to provide comprehensive support to over 37 000 orphans and vulnerable children and adolescents in 18 districts.

Pepfar will also continue its support for girls to stay HIV-free through the DREAMS programme, which works with over 80 000 adolescent girls and young women in nine districts.

It will also fund a range of additional activities to prevent transmission of HIV, including voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).

Funding for VMMC will expand demand-creation events using community mobilisers, peer promotion, churches and social media to create awareness and increase VMMC coverage in 12 regions.

Additionally, Pepfar will help increase the number of key populations on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medicine that helps prevent transmission of HIV.

Universal health coverage

The 2022 funding period begins October 2021 and ends September 2022, the US government’s fiscal year.

“Through this support, together, we will work with the Namibian government to realise its vision of universal health coverage, so that all people in Namibia have access to affordable, quality health services,” Long said.

The US government has invested approximately US$1.6 billion in HIV programming in Namibia since 2005.

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