Local partners requested EQUIP’s support focus to be on the integration of PrEP activities into SFH’s existing Key Population programme. The inclusion of direct Key Population activities would be required only to strengthen the planned PrEP project. An operational plan was approved with SFH to increase Key Population reach and demand for testing in order for key populations to support a PrEP demonstration project.
Activities of the operational plan included the diversification of existing case managers, IEC material development, and comprehensive Key Population training for relevant SFH healthcare workers. Three clinics were also identified and confirmed with SFH for the integration of PrEP services. PrEP training for SFH healthcare workers took place in June 2017 for the first-site, and the evaluation protocol for the PrEP project was finalised and reviewed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) Technical Working Group in May 2017.
In May 2017, the first Key Population PrEP site located in Walvis Bay received approval to distribute ART. In June 2017 the first Key Population site was activated and the first Key Population PrEP clients were successfully initiated.
In the two decades since independence, Namibia has made tremendous strides in establishing a free, viable nation. The country has an independent judiciary, well-protected property rights and a fairly good labor market. It also boasts well-developed financial markets, as well as excellent infrastructure by regional standards. However, several formidable challenges constrain progress, including addressing one of the world’s worst HIV epidemics, one of the world’s highest levels of income disparity, a high unemployment rate, and a flawed education system.
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.