Swakopmund — Namibia was on Friday awarded two awards for its fight against HIV/AIDS at the 22nd International AIDS conference underway in Amsterdam.
The awards Namibia received are from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for its efforts in cultivating the potential of local and indigenous partners and best progress at the halfway point in pursuit of the 2020 fast track goals. The country further received recognition for its efforts in reaching the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2020 targets.
The announcement was made on Saturday during the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights workshop in Swakopmund.
Patricia Ongpin of UNAIDS Namibia explained to New Era that the two awards are for Namibia's progress in reaching the UNAIDS 2020 90-90-90 targets, which are to test 90 percent of all people living with HIV, to put 90 percent of all people who tested positive for HIV on treatment and to have 90 percent of all people who are on HIV virally suppressed.
Ongpin explained that the awards Namibia received are for the first two targets, which are to test 90 percent of all people living with HIV and putting 90 percent of HIV-positive people on treatment. Namibia attained the targets at 90 percent and greater.
According to a UNAIDS report titled 'Miles to go, closing gaps, breaking barriers to justice' launched last week ahead of the HIV/AIDS conference, Namibia is among the countries that have done exceptionally well in achieving the 90-90-90 targets, according to the most recent data.
In the case of Namibia, the results are from the soon-to-be-released Namibia Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment report from the survey that was carried out last year.
In the first 90 UNAIDS target, Namibia achieved 90 percent and greater together with Czechia, eSwatini, Greece, Lithuania, Malawi, Portugal Romania, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.
For the second 90 UNAIDS target, the countries that have achieved success together with Namibia are Algeria, Austria, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Italy, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Niger, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.
As for the third 90 target, Namibia is near achieving it and is at 85-89 percent and so are Austria, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Croatia, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nigeria, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Togo, Uganda, Armenia, eSwatini, Georgia, Honduras, Malawi, Suriname, Thailand, Macedonia and Vietnam.
Julius Nghifikwa, the deputy director of the HIV and AIDS Management Unit in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, told New Era on the sidelines of the National Youth Conference that took place over the weekend in Swakopmund that the awards are proof that collaborative efforts between various stakeholders in fighting HIV/AIDS are bearing fruit.
"I feel good that the collaboration with partners is really getting momentum. People want to collaborate, people want to share resources. It's only that we want to strengthen raising awareness at the ground level to make sure that people understand the message of HIV/AIDS," said Nghifikwa.
He elaborated that young people are within communities and if communities are not empowered sufficiently it can negatively affect the work of the country. "But so far the progress is very good," said Nghifikwa.