NAMIBIA— The Ministry of Health & Social Services (MoHSS), has launched the third edition of the National Guidelines for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

The new guideline was funded through collaboration with the MoHSS, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as Project Hope Namibia.

The review was overdue since the last review of the guidelines on STIs was conducted in 2008.

Moreover, the landscape of healthcare, technological innovations, and epidemiology have evolved, necessitating a comprehensive re-evaluation and modernization of our approach to the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and management of sexually transmitted infections.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, at the launch event, expressed concern about the high rate of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) cases in the country.

Dr. Shangula explained that this is even though Namibia has made commendable progress in reducing HIV infections in different population groups and demographics.

“Over the past five years, on average, more than 96 000 cases of sexually transmitted infections of different types have been recorded at our health facilities around the country every year,” Dr. Shangula said.

According to the minister, most STI incidents were linked to syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus, and the human papillomavirus.

He added that STIs have a direct impact on sexual and reproductive health through stigmatization, infertility, cancer, and pregnancy complications.

“It is for this reason that we, as the Ministry of Health and Social Services, together with our partners and the people of Namibia, should spare no efforts to put in place measures that will help us reduce sexually transmitted infections in our communities,” Minister Shangula said.

Dr. Shangula added that according to spectrum data, Namibia now stands at 94-99-92 on the UNAIDS 95-95-95 cascade.

Shangula called on healthcare workers to familiarise themselves with guidelines to deliver high-standard care in the public and private sectors.

He said the guidelines cannot be successfully executed if healthcare workers are not committed and dedicated to providing quality healthcare.

“It is important to acknowledge that the success of this revised guideline rests not only on its content but also on the commitment and dedication of our healthcare workforce… The tool will enable our healthcare workers to always deliver the highest standard of care to our patients,” Shangula said.

Speaking at the same event, United States embassy spokesperson Tiffany Miller said the document offers professionals, policymakers, and community organizations guidance that was grounded in scientific research.

Miller said the guidelines would play a key role in reducing the prevalence and burden of STIs and would complement the ministry’s efforts in combating STI prominence in the country.

“This is no doubt a crucial step towards reducing the prevalence and burden of STIs, further complementing the already commendable efforts of the ministry,” Miller said.

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