Monday, 24 July 2017

 The first of June 2017 was a happy day to Gwaanaka Support Group members in Onyaanya, Oshikoto region, for being the first group in Oshikoto to start community-based refill – Antiretroviral (ARVs) distributed at a support group level. Some of the leaders – Oshikoto Governor, Honorable Henock Kankoshi, Councilor of Onyaanya, American Ambassador to Namibia, His Excellency Thomas Daughton were present to witness the Community Based Antiretroviral Treatment (CBART).
A member of Gwaanaka Support Group, Elly Dhikwa told many stakeholders who came to witness the ARVs distribution that people living with HIV on treatment have been walking long distances to and from the health facilities to refill their ARVs. She recognized the new method, indicating that “this new approach (CBART) is encouraging people on treatment to adhere well to their treatment because they are no more challenged or discouraged to walk long distance to refill their ARVs on their appointment days”

Governor of Oshikoto region, Henock Kankoshi assured the support groups members that “the government is working tirelessly to curb the negative HIV pandemic negative impacts through its structures such as Constituency AIDS Coordinating Committees (CACOCs) and Regional AIDS Coordinating Committees.”  “The government of Namibia does appreciate and recognizes work done by the American nation in the field of HIV, especially in Oshikoto region.” 

Dr. Sad (SMO) from Onandjokwe Hospital, clearly explained to the support group members and stakeholders in the field of HIV (present) the overall purpose of the government to decentralize treatment through differentiated care models, as indicated in the new National Treatment Guideline. “Our hospital, Onandjokwe, has been crowded especially on the day of ARVs refills, by introducing this new model, it decongests most of the health facilities”.  “Our ministry, in this case, our hospital, will work with Tonata in order to assure treatment is decentralized through support groups, this will motivate many people to adhere well,” said Sad. 

The United States of America, Ambassador Thomas Daughton reported that the government of America will continue to support Namibian government, especially the Ministry of Health to ensure that treatment and other health services are available in all communities. “At the moment, more than 750 members from 96 support groups have registered for Community-based ARVs refill at the support group level.”

Thomas concluded his speech that “the key objective of Community Based Treatment is to bring medication closer to people which of course will lead us to undetectable viral loads as a result of good adherence.”

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