Namibia Has Impressive ARV Coverage

Namibia is one of the African countries enjoying remarkable coverage of life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, with about 90 percent of Namibians living with HIV and AIDS receiving ARVs from the state.

According to the 2013 World Health Organisation (WHO) global update on HIV treatment, Namibia is ranked among the top African countries in ARV delivery.

Botswana is ranked the highest in Africa with 95 percent ARV coverage, followed by Namibia at 90 percent. Neighbouring countries such as Zambia (79 %), Angola (42%), DRC (31%), South Africa (80%) and Zimbabwe (79 %) are listed behind Namibia and Botswana.

The report reveals that about 104 531 HIV-positive Namibians are receiving ARVs.

On Tuesday the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Richard Kamwi, welcomed the wife of Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, Madam Yoo Ban Soon-Taek on her visit to the Katutura State Hospital.

Kamwi expressed pride about Namibia’s achievement in terms of health prevention services.

He told Madam Yoo and her entourage that “we brought down mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 33 percent in 20023 to 4 percent in 201213,” stressing that it was achieved within 10 years.

“The goal of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV is within our reach. At national level we have reduced by 50 percent new HIV infections since 2001. We are one of the leading countries in the developing world where the government finances more than half (64%) of HIV expenditure including ARVs,” said Kamwi.

Kamwi said Namibia has already adopted the new 2013 WHO guidelines to start ARV treatment early and also to treat all infected children under 15 years of age.

He also informed the delegation that Namibia has very high ante-natal care coverage of 95 percent, an institutional delivery rate at 81 percent and 83 percent immunization coverage for babies aged under one.

“But we want to do more,” he noted.

Moreover, he said Namibia brought down the number of malaria deaths from around 7 000 in 1990 to only four deaths in 2012.

But despite the achievements, Kamwi said, Namibia – specifically the health ministry – faces daunting challenges.

He said there was slow progress in the reduction of maternal and child mortality, and as a result Namibia may not be able to achieve its Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by the set date of 2015.

Madam Yoo visited the ARV clinic before she proceeded to Windhoek Central Hospital’s maternity ward.

Source : New Era