U.N. Envoy Lewis Praises Namibia’s HIV/AIDS Efforts, Calls Attention to Funding Shortage, Lack of Capacity
U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on Thursday praised Namibia's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, despite having limited funds and resources, South Africa's Independent Online reports. Speaking at the close of a four-day trip, Lewis said, "The political commitment is there and excellent policies are in place, it is important now to implement them." The lack of necessary resources and "human capacity" to fight HIV/AIDS in the country is apparent, Lewis said. Health Minister Richard Kamwi reportedly announced last month that Namibia has a shortage of 1,500 nurses. Many medical workers leave the country to seek better pay and working conditions, the Independent Online reports. According to Lewis, Namibia has not yet experienced the full impact of the number of children orphaned by or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Namibia's President Hifikepunye Pohamba last week said that more than 45,000 orphans officially have been registered with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. The number of orphans and vulnerable children is expected to increase from 120,000 to about 250,000 over the next 15 years, according to a recent survey by UNICEF. Lewis called for the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations to increase funding to developing countries dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Independent Online, 4/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.