THE United States government has committed another N$400 million towards the fight against HIV-AIDS in Namibia.
This was announced at the signing of an agreement yesterday by the ambassador of the United States of America to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, health minister Bernard Haufiku, economic planning minister Obeth Kandjoze and southern African director of the USA Agency for International Development, John Groarke.
The funding is done through USAID under a 2007 bilateral grant agreement between the USA and Namibia for funding under the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) programme. Yesterday's signing was the 19th amendment to the 2007 agreement.
The grant brings the total amount under this funding programme to N$4,5 billion since 2007 for supporting the health ministry in combating the HIV-AIDS pandemic through general testing and treatment, prevention measures, capacity-building and logistics support.
Johnson told a press conference that according to the Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (Namphia), the country is close to reaching its goal of epidemic control.
"Pepfar began its partnership with Namibia 14 years ago. Since then, America has invested over US$1 billion [N$14 billion] in saving Namibian lives," she said.
Johnson added that the new funding supports several priorities, including HIV prevention among vulnerable groups, increasing voluntary medical male circumcision, as well as testing and supporting community-based HIV treatment groups in rural areas.
Kandjoze and Haufiku highlighted the more than 50% reduction in new HIV infections in the past two years as a great achievement.
Haufiku thanked the ambassador for the ongoing US support, and said Namibia is already ahead of other African countries in the fight against HIV-AIDS.
He agreed with the ambassador that Namibia might be the first African country to have the epidemic under control.
"We promise you that we will account for every cent," the health minister added.