A workshop on a new funding model for the Global Fund, which was held in Windhoek last week, highlighted the importance of channeling increased domestic resources towards combating HIV and Aids in Africa.
The conference highlighted although there is need for donor funding, domestic resources have to be amplified first.
In the case of Namibia, both the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi and the UNAids director, Tharcisse Barihuta, called on the public and private sectors to contribute towards fundraising efforts, in light of a reduced reliance on donor funding.
Kamwi stressed the importance of additional efforts and stronger partnerships and more creative solutions, to change the course of infectious diseases such as HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
He said the Global Fund’s new funding model will be a new strategic investment approach to fighting diseases.
“The new funding model encourages stronger resource prioritisation and harmonisation with existing funding, to view disease programmes in a holistic manner,” said Kamwi, adding, “I am aware of the difficult financial times our countries are going through. Therefore, we have to remember, investing in our future is the smartest thing we can do”.
The minister also called for strategic investments and allocation of resources to fight deadly diseases in Africa.
Barihuta, on the other hand, said sectors such as mines, banks and hotels should increase their corporate social responsibility programmes and not only concentrate on the wellbeing of their employees and families.
“To have an HIV-free generation, increased investments in prevention methods are needed alongside the increase in domestic resources,” said Barihuta who applauded the Namibian government for adopting the new treatment guidelines implemented by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
With the new guidelines, the country has agreed to start early treatment for those infected with HIV and Aids, to avoid opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis and reducing early deaths.
Early treatment would also be provided for pregnant women, to prevent mother-to-child transmission, which would be continued during the breastfeeding phase.
“All the children under the age of 15 who are infected will receive treatment, regardless of their CD4 count and all those who are infected and have hepatitis B will start treatment immediately,” said Barihuta.
Newborn babies will now be monitored, to see if they are infected before receiving treatment; an initiative previously not adopted in Namibia.
The workshop also revealed the Global Fund will focus its resources on countries, which are highly affected by HIV and AIDs, tuberculosis, as well as malaria while funding will only be directed to eligible nations.
Currently, Namibia has an anti-retroviral (ARV) coverage of over 90% compared to 64% in 2007.