Namibia Aims To Have 30,000 People Receiving Antiretroviral Drugs by Early 2007
The Namibian government expects to treat more than 30,000 HIV-positive people in the country with antiretroviral drugs by the beginning of 2007, South Africa's Independent Online reports. According to Health and Social Services Minister Richard Kamwi, more than 52,000 of the 230,000 HIV-positive people in Namibia could be eligible for antiretroviral treatment (Moyo, Independent Online, 8/24). Under Namibia's treatment program, HIV prevalence among pregnant women has decreased from 22% in 2002 to 19.7% in 2004, New Era reports. The number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses also has dropped from 3,627 in 2004 to 3,230 in 2005, and the percentage of people receiving antiretrovirals has increased from 6% in 2003 to 38% in 2005, Kamwi said (Tjaronda, New Era, 8/21). Kamwi also said that 64% of the 22,000 Namibians currently receiving antiretrovirals are women. In addition, more than 90% of people who have been receiving antiretrovirals, which the Ministry of Health began providing in 2003, are still living, and 5% have died, according to the Independent Online (Independent Online, 8/24). Kamwi said the country needs to increase its investment in HIV/AIDS programs to maintain progress because the programs mostly were funded by the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (IRIN News/AllAfrica.com, 8/22). "I must admit that these success stories are partly as a result of our development partners," Kamwi said, adding that if the programs were interrupted, the lives of all the people receiving treatment would be in jeopardy. He also said that Namibia aims to broaden its clinics to implement HIV/AIDS treatment programs and that more money will be needed. According to the World Health Organization, Namibia is the top African country in terms of providing antiretrovirals to children and the second, after Togo, in terms of providing antiretrovirals to adults (New Era, 8/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.