Africa: Namibia's Health Minister Dr Bernard Haufiku on How HIV Testing is Key

30 November 2018

What the Namibian Health Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said about fighting HIV/Aids in his country:

Education, education and getting people tested and especially young men tested. Because the problem we have with HIV now is that quite a number of people are not yet tested and in fact that's the only reason why we didn't achieve one of our 9090 goals is because of lack of testing especially. Our emphasis now is on getting young men tested and obviously everyone tested and whoever tested positive must be on treatment immediately without delay.

Actually we have done well. We were in Amsterdam where we were the top PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) country in terms of achieving most of our goals. We have half the incidents basically in two to three years, and we hope that we will reach our 2020 targets on HIV. And a whole lot of progress on TB but also a whole lot of challenges there with TB.

Given the current trend, I'm quite optimistic that we'll continue to achieve some of our milestones. Perhaps not as big as we envisaged, but significant. I mean we're talking about and only we still working with some partner to help us. We achieve our goals in HIV largely because of the support we got from PEPFAR and the collaboration with the University of Columbia in New York and San Francisco.We believe that our partners and again to abandon us, despite the World Bank classification of being an upcoming middle-income country because the diseases will be there despite this world classification, which is not in the hands of the majority of people, it’s actually in the hands of the minority.

So if we continue on our current trend and we continue to improve on efficiency of resource utilization, especially financial utilization, if we continue to concentrate on low-hanging fruit, I think will make further strides and even achieve some of our goals and targets.

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