The devastating effect of AIDS in Namibia demonstrates how challenging the fight to control the disease can be, even in a country with good governance structures and economic opportunity. Namibia’s population of 2.1 million is dispersed throughout the country, and access to remote populations difficult.
- Nationally, 13.1 percent of the adult population is infected with the disease, with some regions experiencing prevalence rates over 36 percent
- The north, northeast, and central parts of the country where pastoralist and mobile populations reside have the highest rates of disease
- In Namibia, HIV is most commonly transmitted through heterosexual sex and from mother to child
- Youth aged 15 to 24 account for 40 percent of new infections, and women are disproportionately affected
- In 2009, there were approximately 70,000 children in Namibia who had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS
The United States works in partnership with the Government of Namibia to fight HIV/AIDS while promoting sustainable national ownership and leadership of HIV/AIDS programs. At the national level, we work closely with the Ministries of Health and Social Services, Women’s Affairs and Child Welfare, Education and other governmental entities to help deepen their capacity and technical skills. We also partner with nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, and government-supported hospitals and health care facilities to extend HIV/AIDS services across Namibia.
USAID supports evidence-based HIV prevention efforts including behavior change, biomedical, and structural interventions that proved to have real impact on communities. These efforts include:
- Preventing mother-to-child transmission. Through PEPFAR, USAID and the Ministry of Health and Social Services are providing services and counseling to pregnant women, their partners, children and families at faith-based facilities. This work complements activities implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control at other government hospitals.
- Care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. USAID and the Ministry of Health and Social Services are building national capacity for drug and commodities management as well as expanding community-based programs through civil society organizations.
- Voluntary counseling and testing. USAID is increasing access to testing for HIV, which helps identify patients for treatment and connect them with services in their community. In addition, research shows that when individuals are aware of their status—whether negative or positive—they take steps to better protect themselves and their partners.
- Encouraging safer sexual behaviors. USAID and its Namibian partners employ a range of behavior change activities including those to delay the start of sexual activity among young people, to encourage monogamy and reduce the number of sexual partners and to correctly and consistently use condoms.
- Stigma reduction. Improving attitudes toward those living with HIV/AIDS plays an important role in advancing prevention and treatment goals as well as supporting entire communities who have been affected by the epidemic.
- Managing nutritional needs. In addition to training providers on nutrition standards for HIV/AIDS patients, USAID also supports efforts to integrate and strengthen nutritional assessment counseling and support for people living with HIV, especially pregnant and lactating mother and the children.
Orphans and Vulnerable Children
HIV/AIDS represents a significant threat to the well-being and safety of children, who become vulnerable long before an HIV-positive parent or caretaker dies. The need for society to provide care, support and educational opportunities for increasing numbers of these children is a significant challenge for communities. Working with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare, faith-based and non-governmental organizations, USAID aims to strengthen coping mechanisms of children and their caregivers throughout Namibia.
USAID programs reach approximately 75,000 orphans and vulnerable children or caregivers directly with community care and economic strengthening activities, including vocational training; village savings groups; and child health, educational, and psychosocial support. More than 500 local faith-based congregations receive USAID assistance through small grants for community projects. At the national level, USAID supports the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Permanent Task Force and provides technical assistance to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Trust Fund.
In sub-Saharan Africa where HIV-TB co-infection rates are high, improving TB control is a critical part of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last eight years, USAID supported the Ministry of Health and Social Services, National TB Control Program. Our support to TB programs focuses on increasing access to quality care and building the capacity of host country systems. This financial and technical support enabled Namibia to achieve the World Health Organization global targets of 70 percent case detection rate and 85 percent treatment success rate.
In line with the Global Health Initiative and the second phase of PEPFAR, USAID’s programming is making the transitioning from an emergency response to long-term system strengthening. We use an integrated approach that allows host country partners, including the Government of Namibia and civil society, to mobilize resources and take ownership to manage their own activities. Capacity-building efforts include the areas of planning, financing, human resources and monitoring and oversight.
With thanks to World Bank [source]