Working With Namibia To End AIDS

Posted by Wanda L. Nesbitt
December 3, 2012
Hands Holding AIDS Ribbons

Last week, we commemorated World AIDS Day around the globe. We remembered the friends, family, and strangers whose lives were cut short by AIDS. We also recognized those living with the disease: individuals who, because of medication and counseling, are enjoying life, raising families, and who continue to be productive members of their communities. Here in Namibia, the United States, through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is working closely with the people and Government of Namibia to prevent new HIV infections, provide lifesaving HIV treatment to those who need it, and help put an end to AIDS in the country.

On November 29, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the PEPFAR Blueprint, a historic document that will serve as the United States' roadmap to helping create an AIDS-free generation. The blueprint emphasizes the importance of shared responsibility, making smart investments based on sound science, and most importantly, saving more lives in order to reach this ambitious but attainable goal. Moving forward, the principles, action and implementation steps laid out in the blueprint will guide our efforts to more efficiently and effectively deliver HIV services to even more Namibians in need.

The blueprint reinforces the U.S. commitment to continue its leadership role in the world, but, emphasizes that countries must increasingly do more to own their epidemics. Partner contributions must adhere to and support the principle of country ownership -- the end state in which partner countries lead, manage, coordinate and increasingly over time finance the efforts needed to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

I've been impressed with the collective nature of Namibia's AIDS response. Led by the Government of Namibia, a diverse group of dedicated individuals and institutions -- from international and multilateral donors; civil society, including people living with HIV; the faith community; the private sector; and the many others working on the front lines -- have made significant progress towards an AIDS-free generation. Namibia has dramatically expanded coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and with PEPFAR support, reached over 92,000 individuals with ART in 2011. The country has also stepped up its prevention of mother-to-child transmission efforts, providing HIV testing and counseling to over 52,000 pregnant women in 2011 alone. Most impressive, Namibia finances 50 percent of its national AIDS response and is committed to funding a larger percentage of its HIV and AIDS intervention programs in the coming years. As Namibia continues its leadership and investment in the AIDS response, PEPFAR increasingly focuses on strengthening the country's capacity for data analysis, strategic planning, and program management.

In 2010, the United States and Namibia put our partnership into policy by signing a Partnership Framework on HIV/AIDS -- a five-year joint strategic plan to support a country-led, sustainable national AIDS response. Our goal now is to help Namibia assume full responsibility for the management of its HIV program. In this transition period, we will focus our resources to strengthen Namibia's capacity to procure antiretroviral drugs and other health commodities; to help build a body of the country-specific data necessary to understand what we've done well and chart a course for the future; and to develop strong systems for training the doctors, nurses, counselors and other health practitioners necessary to make the country's health sector successful in the long term.

Secretary Clinton's PEPFAR Blueprint is an important step in the next chapter of our fight against AIDS. We are proud to work with the government and people of Namibia to do our part toward achieving the goal of creating an AIDS-free generation. By investing smarter and working together, we will win this fight.

Related Content: World AIDS Day 2012 -- PEPFAR's Blueprint for an AIDS-Free Generation



December 6, 2012

Rosalia in Namibia writes:

Encouraging message Madam Ambassador. Your leadership has made a huge difference in the Namibian success story.


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