By Hileni Nembwaya
THE Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna has said that HIV/ AIDS is still the leading cause of death in adults in Namibia.
She said that HIV/AIDS also remains as one of the leading causes of death among children under five. “We must therefore put all our efforts together in order to control this epidemic. We are confident that we can have the same success with controlled HIV epidemic, as we have had in attaining the millennium development goals related to access to education and gender parity in education and health,” said Kavetuna.
She continued to say that Namibia has also achieved impressive results in reducing the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths from 4 200 per year in 1990 to less than 3 000 per year in 2013.
“We have also made progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, with new HIV infections cut in half since 2004 and life expectancy rising from 56 in 2005 to 64 in 2013,” she said.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services has introduced community-based HIV testing and counselling services for health extension workers (HEW) in the Ohangwena region.
So far more than 30 HEWs from nine health facilities, trained at Engela Hospital, are said to have proven themselves to be capable of providing quality HIV testing and counselling services.
Kavetuna said that within only five days of testing during July, 95 HIV tests were conducted by the workers.
“Ten HIV positive clients were newly diagnosed by the end of August 2016. An additional 37 HEWs will start community-based HIV testing activities on 14 September to bring the total active cadres in Engela district to 60,” said Kavetuna.
Engela is the first health district to pilot HIV testing and counselling into the scope of work for HEWs.
Omuthiya district in Oshikoto region will be the next to introduce community-based HIV testing and counselling services.
The health ministry is also planning to expand the testing and counselling services further into an additional two to three districts in the coming year.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015