Norbert Forster

NAMIBIA: New hope in HIV/AIDS struggle

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria has given Namibia US $113 million over five years in what could prove to be a turning point in the country's campaign to fight the three diseases, analysts said. Welcoming the Global Fund grant, under-secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Norbert Forster said around 13,000 HIV-positive Namibians would have access to life-prolonging drugs by the end of 2006 at all 35 state hospitals in the country. The government would also establish a comprehensive Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme in all state hospitals. The money for HIV/AIDS will also be used for awareness campaigns, condom promotion, distribution and use, establishment of voluntary counselling and testing centres in eight of the country's 13 regions and all state hospitals, and the strengthening of home and community-based care support groups. A workplace HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes would also be established and strengthened in the public and private sectors. A comprehensive care and support programme for 150,000 orphans by 2007 would also be launched with the grant from the Geneva-based Fund. More than 22 percent of Namibians aged between 15 and 49 are HIV positive.(Source:IRIN Africa PlusNews reports, 2/3/2003)