15 November 2012

Namibia: Stubborn HIV/Aids Pandemic in the Country

Windhoek — The estimated HIV/AIDS prevalence rate for Namibia is 18.8 percent, with approximately 22 new infections occurring every day, while Windhoek has an estimated HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of about 15 percent, with about 3.5 new infections per day.

These figures were revealed by Governor of the Khomas Region Samuel Nuuyoma, at a breakfast meeting on the City of Windhoek's strategic plan on HIV/AIDS held in Windhoek yesterday.

Namibia therefore features amongst the top five worst hit countries in the world.

Furthermore, Nuuyoma disclosed that Sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit by the HIVAIDS pandemic.

"In 2011, about 22.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS were in Sub-Saharan Africa, while 70 percent of deaths due to AIDS occurred in this region," he added.

In light of these figures, the HIV/AIDS situation in Sub-Saharan Africa and Namibia in particular dictates to all key sectors, including local authorities, to reflect on past and current responses to the epidemic, as well as to reiterate commitments to renewed efforts towards the global Getting to Zero (zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths) campaign through coordinated efforts, according to the Governor.

The breakfast meeting was a build-up to the City of Windhoek World AIDS Day commemoration planned for December 5 in the informal settlements, leading up to the national event to be hosted in the Erongo Region on December 7.

The Governor applauded the City of Windhoek for developing an evidence-based strategic plan on HIV/AIDS in partnership with and support from the UNDP, UNAIDS, and other key stakeholders in the response to HIV/AIDS.

"The draft strategic plan is based on a study conducted by the PharmAccess Foundation on behalf of the City of Windhoek, based on the Know your Epidemic/Know your Response (KYE/KYR) approach," said Nuuyoma, adding that the approach assisted with a strengthened evidence-based and capacity-to-guide strategic planning for Windhoek's AIDS response, among others.

Mayor of Windhoek, Elaine Trepper, said reliable scientific information about the urban HIV/AIDS situation including Windhoek is not readily available. "As a result, cities' responses to the epidemic have been ineffective most of the time," she said.

Trepper emphasised that what is needed is access to strategic information on the epidemic, and advocacy for investments in high impact intervention to reduce to zero the number of new infections and AIDS related deaths.

Moreover, the mayor boasted that Windhoek is the first local authority in Namibia and the second in Africa to produce an evidence-based strategic plan based on the KYE/KYR methodology.

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