By Hileni Nembwaya
THE United States ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton has announced that the HIV virus is under control in about 97 percent of people on treatment living at Okongo in Ohangwena.
The Okongo district community health leaders have been providing quality, community-based treatment to those living with HIV in the village since 2007.
Addressing the community caregivers Daughton said, “When you started this programme almost 10 years ago, there were no guidelines about how to help people living with HIV in rural areas. To survive, HIV-positive people need antiretroviral therapy, or ART, and your approach was simple: offer the best care to your community in the most direct way. It was an elegant and effective solution. Knowing that your patients were travelling long distances and at high cost just to get their life-saving ART, you opened community-based medicine points. You made it much easier for people living with HIV to get their medicine.”
Daughton noted that people living with HIV and AIDS at Okongo live longer and have a better quality of life compared to others living elsewhere.
He further commended the Government for adopting the model as a national standard to be replicated in other regions that face challenges. “Testing and treatment are absolutely crucial to controlling HIV. We all know that, right? But did you know that twice as many Namibian women as Namibian men go and get tested for HIV? Why is that? We say that Namibia is the land of the brave, but that statistic makes me think that Namibia is the land of the brave women. So come on, Namibian men! We can’t provide ART if we don’t know who needs it, so more Namibian men need to get tested,” said Daughton.
So far the US government has spent about N$5.2 million to set up eight new clinics for community-based ART at Okongo district.
These clinics were officially handed over to the community, recently.
Daughton furthermore encouraged the community of Okongo district to continue the great work that they have started and for their involvement in spreading the word about HIV care and the non-discriminatory messages about people living with HIV.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015