Namibians have been urged to adhere to safe practices to prevent new HIV infections.
“No one should take chances. The health of a nation depends on our people choosing safer sexual practices in order to prevent new infections,” says a recommendation made in the Harambee Prosperity Plan progress report released in April 2019.
Equally important, HIV-positive people are urged to adhere to treatment by taking their medication without fail “because with proper treatment, HIV infection does not have to become life threatening. It is just another chronic ailment that can be successfully managed and those on treatment can lead full productive lives,” adds the report.
Furthermore, it is suggested in the report that as Namibia works towards sustainable control of the HIV epidemic, specific interventions are required to find people who are most in need of HIV health care services.
“One important strategy is the use of index partner testing, which is a voluntary process where counsellors and health care workers offer an HIV test to sexual partners and HIV-exposed biological children of HIV-positive clients,” according to the report.
Namibia will soon scale up index partner testing at all public health facilities, it is stated in the report.
“Through this focus on intensified HIV case finding, those who need services the most will be better reached and Namibia will move even closer and closer to ending the AIDS epidemic through sustained epidemic control,” says the report.
Meanwhile, a case study of paediatric HIV infection is highlighted in the report.
A mother is quoted as saying that women within her community now know the importance of things like immunisation and the dangers of malnutrition.
“Previously, they did not understand the importance of vitamin A in infants and children or the immunisation schedules. “But now they do and even the babies are born much healthier,” said the mother who is from Kilimanjaro informal settlement in Windhoek. Another Kilimanjaro informal settlement resident identified as Tate Namholo Paulus, a health extension worker in the area, commended the government for the programme.
“Many people are now health-conscious and the community is happy. People are grateful. Even if you give people health education, it is not everyone that remembers things like taking children to the clinic for immunisation. But because we walk house to house, we constantly remind them to go for vaccinations and follow up on them,” he says.