NAMIBIA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced that through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), it’s going to invest US$45 million in health and social services for vulnerable children and young people of Namibia.

The five-year program, Reach Namibia, will focus on the 8 regions of the country where children and youth are the most vulnerable to HIV infections.

Additionally, beneficiaries will experience improved access to health and social services to prevent them from contracting HIV and to stay AIDS-free. 

The Reach Namibia program will be managed by USAID and implemented by two local organizations i.e. Project HOPE Namibia operating in Khomas, Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, and Zambezi regions, and Intrahealth Namibia operating in Kavango East and West.

PEPFAR Namibia deputy principal for USAID Tamara Cox explained that Reach Namibia was building on the successes of their other DREAMS program -Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe programs.

Especially, activities that have improved the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, especially those living with HIV through our Namibia Adherence and Retention Project, the Deputy director reiterated. 

“Through this new program, USAID will reach those children and youth who have yet to be reached including adolescent boys and young men made vulnerable due to HIV,” shared Cox. 

USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, Maria Price Detherage on her part praised Reach Namibia for its focus on fortifying young Namibians and their communities to meet the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) goal of 97-97-97 by 2028 in Namibia.

She expounded that this meant that 97% of the population know their HIV status, 97% of those who are HIV-positive are on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment have a reduced viral load. 

Ms. Price Detherage visited Angola and Botswana prior to arriving in Namibia to share USAID’s broader vision for the sub-Saharan region, which includes increased programming to tackle food insecurity intensified by climate change and improve countries’ resilience to its impact. 

“Climate change contributes to increased floods and droughts which threaten food security all over Africa, and Namibia is particularly prone and vulnerable to these adverse weather events.  Food insecurity threatens Namibia’s ability to maintain HIV epidemic control and become AIDS-free as ART adherence is difficult on an empty stomach,” highlighted the USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator.

USAID representatives are in Namibia to gain first-hand experience with U.S. government programming in the country by visiting various development and health projects including the Central Medical Store in Windhoek, and clinics providing ART (antiretroviral treatment) and VMMC (voluntary medical male circumcision) at the Engela Hospital in Namibia’s Ohangwena Region.

Speaking at the same event, Executive Director of Health Ben Nangombe said the Reach Namibia program will provide further support in incentives that relate to public health.

According to Nangombe, Namibia currently stood at 92-99-94, putting the country at the cusp of achieving an AIDS-free generation.

The United States Government through USAID has been supporting Namibia since independence, specifically in the health, education, economic, energy, and environment sectors.

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