The Namibian Business Coalition on AIDS (NABCOA) was due today to host a business breakfast meeting on HIV/AIDS in Windhoek under the theme ?Roles and Responsibilities of Business Leadership?.NABCOA said in a statement the meeting would be hosted in collaboration with the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC). Dr Brian Brink, the group senior vice-president of Anglo American Corporation, would address business on the importance of the private sector proactively joining national responses to HIV/AIDS.Speakers would include Peter van Wyk, Carol O?Brien, the director of GBC Africa, Sven Thieme, the executive chairman of the O & L Group of Companies, the statement said.
(IRIN) – HIV/AIDS has changed the face of Africa’s tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, which is now reaching alarming proportions, a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report, released on World TB Day, said.While most areas of the world have managed to curb the spread of TB, incidence rates have tripled since 1990 in African countries with high HIV prevalence, and the numbers are still rising, warned the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Control report for 2005.For HIV-positive people, TB is the most frequent opportunistic infection and the leading cause of death. About 12 million people are co-infected with HIV and TB, and two-thirds of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.”TB killed more people than all wars, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, airline accidents, terrorist acts and murders worldwide the past year, but with much less fanfare,” Dr Bobby John, head of a global advocacy campaign, Massive Effort, said in a statement.
The US embassy in Windhoek has announced that the United States
Undersecretary of State for political affairs William Burns will be visiting
Namibian on a two – day official visit.Burns will be in the country starting
today (Friday 23 April) until tomorrow. The visit, according to the US
embassy, reflects the continuing commitment of the administration of President
Barack Obama to Africa and Namibia. While in the country, Burns will discuss
with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and other senior government officials the
successes and challenges in fighting HIV/AIDS, promoting democracy, and building
prosperity through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact program.
He will also deliver remarks at an MCC event to launch the handover of 695,164
English, math and science textbooks to 951 schools in Namibia. The
distribution of the textbooks is scheduled for May 2010. Burns visit to
the country is part of a seven African nation tour aimed at expanding relations
with key African partners in the areas of democracy, sustainable economic
development, health and education, non-proliferation, and peace and
The message is clear: Abstain from casual sex; Be
faithful; Use a condom. This is what HIV/AIDS people call the ‘ABC’ approach. In
Namibia, the adverts are on radio, on television and on billboards. Countries
that have had the ABC approach for a long time, such as Uganda, swear by its
effectiveness.However, the practicality of the ABC approach is today a bone of
contention among HIV/AIDS activists and organisations. “People are dying, what is
the point of preaching ABC alone”, says Zackie Achmat, of South Africa’s
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the HIV/AIDS organisation that made headlines
when it successfully went to court to have HIV-drugs made available and
affordable to poor South Africans.In Namibia, the ABC approach seems to have
achieved good results, albeit only in some cases. Statistics given by Minister
of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi in June this year indicated a
decrease of 2.2% in the combined prevalence rate of the country from 22% in 2002
to 19.8% in 2004.However, the prevalence rate statistics in age subgroups are
worrisome, according to Kamwi.A serious concern was noted in the age subgroups
of 25 to 29 years, as well as in the 35 to 39-year group. People in these age
groups seems not to have taken HIV/Aids seriously and to have changed their
sexual behaviour or patterns accordingly.The prevalence rate in age group
between 35 to 39 years went up from 21% in 2002 to 25% in 2004. The prevalence
rate in the age group between 25 years and 29 years recorded a very low decrease
of just 1%, from 28% in 2002 to 27% in 2004. “This is indeed worrying”, said
Kamwi.It is because of such figures that activists such as Achmat put emphasis
on improving the health systems in African countries, instead of the ABC
approach.Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, a medical doctor based at Columbia University, USA,
and the director of the Mother to Child transmission programme, points out that
the world has not been successful [with] prevention, whereas treatment
may bring positive input to the combating of the disease. “The hypothesis is
that treatment may bring hope to individuals”, said Dr El-Sadr.The treatment
approach does not neglect the fact that there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. It
premises on boosting public health and takes a critical look at the pace at
which the rich nations are attempting to improve the drugs and find a cure for
HIV/AIDS.People such as Achmat are disgusted that nothing is done to find new
medicine and diagnostic methods for tuberculosis (TB), which is the leading
cause of death among the HIV-infected people?. “Do you know how old is the
vaccine for TB?”, Achmat once asked. “TB drugs and vaccines as well as
diagnostic methods are as old as 25 years”.Health specialists refer to TB as the
brother or sister to HIV/AIDS.With treatment, there is the lack of capacity in
African countries to deal with HIV/AIDS.Yes, the US provides about N$270 million
for HIV/AIDS through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The
amount is set to increase to N$307 million next year.Nevertheless, activists and
organisation in the HIV/AIDS campaign want to see more action. “When AIDS
started attacking its first victims 20 years ago, the world marked it as an
emergency. And it is still an emergency today”, said Paul de Lay of UNAIDS. “The
response has been totally inadequate”, they say, comparing the world’s reaction
to the potential threat of avian flu. Although the two diseases are not yet on
the same scale, the world is scared that Bird Flu may jump from birds to humans.
And when that happens, the people that will die first will be the more than 40
million HIV-infected people worldwide.Because of that fear alone, the US
government has asked drug companies to find a vaccine and drugs for avian flue
treatment fast. The governments have put up the money for that.Such a response
is massive compared to the response to HIV/AIDS, where only 1,5 million people
will have treatment by the end of this year. The target by UNAIDS was to have 3
million people on treatment.
SADC chairman, President Hifikepunye Pohamba has said that it is imperative
that the regional organisation implements the decisions, programmes and
strategies that were collectively adopted at the just-ended SADC Heads of State
Summit in Windhoek. In his welcome address, President Pohamba said that after
the summit attention should be shifted to the actual business of implementing
the decisions and resolutions of the summit.?I believe that the people of this
region have legitimate expectations that this summit will address the issues
that affect their daily lives. ?We must and should not fail them. We have
a historic opportunity to realise the dreams of SADC citizens for improved
quality of life and a secure, brighter future for the next generations,?
Pohamba said.The president was confident that deliberations at the Windhoek
summit would serve to accelerate the process of achieving the common goals and
objectives for the political and socio-economic integration and development of
the SADC region.?I also strongly believe that our discussions during the summit
will go a long way in advancing our agenda on poverty eradication, employment
creation, food security, gender mainstreaming and the prevention and mitigation
of the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic as well as the maintenance of peace and
security in our region.? President Pohamba expressed satisfaction that
remarkable progress has been made during this year of the 30th Anniversary of
SADC, particularly in the areas of institution building, deepening of democracy
and macro-economic stability in the region. He added: ?As a result, our region
has continued to enjoy peace and stability which are prerequisites for sustained
economic growth.?On Wednesday this week, President Pohamba held a closed-door
meeting with executive secretary of SADC, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao at State
House to map out the way forward in implementing the decisions and resolutions
of the SADC Heads of States Summit.
(PLUSNEWS)-A six-year clinical trial in Thailand has yielded the first ever evidence that an AIDS vaccine can provide some protection against HIV infection. The trial team in Bangkok, Thailand?s capital, announced on 24 September that rates of HIV infection were 31 percent lower in trial participants who received the vaccine than in those who received a placebo. ?These new findings represent an important step forward in HIV vaccine research,? said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the main funder of the trial. The study, known as RV144, began enrolling 16,000 HIV-negative men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 in October 2003. Half the volunteers received a placebo; the other half were given shots containing two different vaccines. The first, called ALVAC-HIV, used a disabled form of a bird virus known as canary pox to deliver synthetic versions of three HIV genes into the body. The second, called AIDSVAX, was composed of a genetically engineered version of an HIV protein. The synthetic HIV components in both vaccines were based on subtypes B and E of the virus, which are most common in Thailand, the US and Europe. Scientists do not yet know whether the vaccine would be effective against other strains, such as subtype C, which is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. The trial was designed to evaluate whether the combined vaccines lowered HIV infection risk, and whether they had any impact on viral load [the amount of HIV circulating in the bloodstream] in the volunteers who became infected. Of 8,197 people given the vaccine regimen, 51 became infected, compared to 74 of the 8,198 volunteers who received the placebo,a result considered ?statistically significant?.
The Namibia International Music Festival which will take place next month, is
expected to draw 30 000 people to Windhoek. The city, which is usually laid back
during December, will be a hype of activity as people from all over the world
are expected to attend the event.Artists from the US, Jamaica, South Africa,
Angola and the United Kingdom are expected to rock the city and give Namibians a
memorable event.According to its organisers, the event will also give the
country?s economy a significant boost.?This glamorous event could not have come
at a better time as economies across the globe are tirelessly crafting
mechanisms to ensure their survival amidst the ongoing economic crisis.
Although the extent, impact and duration of the crisis in Namibia, as is the
case in many countries, have not been formally assessed, there are signs albeit
at varying degrees, that it is at our doorstep, hence the need to be concerned,?
said Olga Katjiuongua, deputy director of Tourism at the Ministry of Environment
and Tourism.She said the hosting of the event is crucial to the tourism industry
in the country and that it will benefit the ordinary Namibian.?The multiplier
effect of tourism will be quite evident during the event as the benefits will
filter through to the man on the street. I understand that most services before,
during and after the event will be outsourced to Namibian businesses of varying
sizes to individuals. This include the sales of tickets, shuttle services, local
taxis, the mounting of advertising posters, accommodation, security and cleaning
services and many more,? said Katjiuongua.Elias Marcelino, executive director of
Coastal Marine Hotels & Entertainment, said Windhoek was amongst the top
Southern African cities chosen to host the event.He said the city was chosen to
host the event because of the low crime rate, cleanliness and because it is laid
back.The event also aims to do its part for charity and some of the proceeds
will go towards the education of street children and organisations working with
people living with HIV/AIDS.The event will take place on 11 and 12 December.
General admission will cost N$220, while premium tickets will cost N$700.
Locally, tickets will be sold in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and
Oshakati.The event will be held at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium and artists
such as Loyiso Bala, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, US rapper Common and Alexandra Burke
are scheduled to perform.
The HIV/AIDS prevalence among expectant mothers in Namibia is decreasing since 2002, Prime Minister Nahas Angula said this week.?It is indeed very encouraging to see that our efforts over many years of fighting HIV/AIDS in Namibia are indeed bearing fruits,? he said.Angula said this during the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day. ?The health sector has done our nation proud with a rapid and very comprehensive roll-out of the anti-retroviral treatment programme so that we have exceeded our coverage targets and are everyday reaching more people with life sustaining ARV medication,? he said.This year World AIDS Day is commemorated under the theme: ?Make HIV Prevention a national priority.? Angula said this year people were even more responsive so that almost 85 000 women and men came for an HIV test over the course of the National Testing Day campaign.?With this support from our development partners we are looking towards expanding this highly accessible services next year through the purchase of three more mobile testing vans. We are also seeing an encouraging increase in the distribution and use of condoms,? he said.Namibia?s advances in controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic are also being recognized internationally, Angula said.?We have been very successful in this endeavour. But we now have to appreciate that awareness promotion and preventive interventions against HIV/AIDS need more attention. We now have considerable evidence that shows that we need to move away from a blanket approach to HIV prevention. We need to establish focused interventions and support innovative prevention progammes that are tailored to reach specific driver and targeted at every specific risk groups and risk environments,? he said.
The Christina Swart-Opperman Aids-Orphan Foundation Trust this week announced its new board of trustees. The members are:Top (left to right) Dr Christina Swart-Opperman, founder of the Trust; Desérè Lundon-Müller, patron of the Trust Bottom (left to right) Jerry Muadinohamba. Ambassador Tonata Itenge and Gersom Katjimune . Dr Christina Swart-Opperman, Economist Businesswoman of the Year 2002, founded and launched the Christina Swart-Opperman AIDS Orphan Foundation Trust on 26 February 2003. She believes that the new board of trustees will enable the Trust to reach new heights.
The Namibia Network of AIDS Service Organisations (NANASO), as an umbrella body for all the NGOs and CBOs active in the field of HIV/AIDS, feels that the public is entitled to have access to information on the pandemic.The NANASO resource centre offers material, which covers areas such as HIV/AIDS, including books, papers, brochures, pamphlets, videocassettes and CD-ROMs.Services available at the resource centre are: Collection Service ? collecting HIV/AIDS-based resources to become part of the Resource Centre; Distribution Service ? distributing materials among organisations; Display Service ? displaying recently published materials of the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), NANASO and other organisations at activities/functions held by various organisations. It also makes the public aware of recent publications on HIV/AIDS by displaying the materials. Its database helps users at the Resource Centre trace the materials and get information quickly. The Internet Services give users a chance to search for HIV/AIDS-based information.Subject areas covered at the resource centre include care, children, counselling, employment, gender, governance, human rights, prevention, reports and research.