US Embassy lauds Namibia over HIV medicine for children

The United States Embassy in Namibia commended the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) for over 11,700 rapid health improvements following the introduction of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) medicine for young children.

The MoHSS introduced the medicine in July 2021 which contains a product called dolutegravir (DTG) which studies show is more effective at treating HIV and is less likely to cause side effects, is easier to take and is better tasting.

The Embassy’s Spokesperson Tiffany Miller on Tuesday said in just one year, MoHSS has ensured that all eligible HIV-positive children and adolescents in the country have access to this medicine, although there are still challenges to address in the treatment and care of children living with HIV.

“Collaborative goals between the MoHSS and the U.S. Government to strengthen HIV care and treatment for children and adolescents in 2023 include training more healthcare providers on how to explain to children why they take medicine and how important it is to take each day; continued support for older HIV-positive adolescents to take a leadership role to support other HIV positive children and adolescents; and starting support groups for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with HIV to better provide them with the support they need,” she said.

In the statement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Namibia Country Director Brian Baker said providing DTG-based medicines for children and adolescents living with HIV is life-changing.

“Children deserve the best chance to live long, healthy and happy lives, and through support from the U.S. Government, we have done our part to help achieve this for a critical group of young people in Namibia,” Baker said.

The introduction of the new medicine has been achieved through a collaborative effort between the MoHSS and partners such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Source: The Namibia Press Agency