HIV-positive patients to benefit from drought relief aid

RUNDU; People who are on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment will benefit from this year’s drought aid in the two Kavango regions.

Registration of beneficiaries for drought aid in the Kavango East and West regions started on Tuesday this week.

The two Kavango regions and most parts of northern Namibia have been hard hit by drought, resulting from low rainfall which affected crops and livestock.

Chairperson of the Kavango East and West regional councils, Bonny Wakudumo told this agency on Wednesday that people on ARV treatment will be the only patients registered as beneficiaries under the critically-affected category.

He said the council resolved to register those on ARV medication because it was realised that they are required to eat before taking their medication. Some people discard and default on their ARV medication due to a lack of food.

“The council decided to assist those on medication because they cannot take their tablets on empty stomachs,” said the chairperson.

Wakudumo indicated that the registration for drought aid is expected to end on 15 May, after which the names will be sent to the Office of the Prime Minister.

He stated that the drought relief food for the critically-affected beneficiaries is already in the regions and distribution will start as soon as they are done with the registration being conducted by village headmen with the assistance of the Village Development Committees (VDCs).

Meanwhile, Wakudumo, who is also Mashare Constituency councillor, cautioned that residents residing on the Angolan side of the Okavango River should not attempt to register as beneficiaries for the drought aid programme, warning that doing so will be tantamount to corruption which is punishable by law.

Angolan residents frequently cross the river into the two regions for services such hospitals, schools and shops.

About 418 000 people in the country will receive drought relief food as from next month.

The government has set aside more than N.dollars 300 million for drought mitigation purposes, which will cover measures such as procurement of food for affected communities and households and the provision of water for human and animal consumption.

This will be in the form of drilling new boreholes and rehabilitation of old ones, as well as assistance to crop producers and livestock farmers.