HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Namibia declines

There has been a significant decline in HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Namibia, the Executive Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe has said.

The prevalence, which was as high as 22 per cent in 2002, decreased to less than 14 per cent by 2022, Nangombe said last week when he briefed the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador John Nkengasong on the significant and positive impact of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“The coverage of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women has consistently remained above 98 per cent. Moreover, the efforts have led to a remarkable achievement in viral load suppression, with approximately 90 per cent of individuals achieving suppression,” Nangombe added.

As a direct result of these advancements, the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV has substantially decreased.

In 2010, the transmission rate stood at 13.72 per cent, but by 2022, it had dropped to 4.14 per cent.

This reduction, Nangombe said, signifies an impressive 70 per cent decline in the number of new infections resulting from mother-to-child transmission.

Dr Nkengasong emphasised that innovation is a key strategy of PEPFAR.

“The Pelebox innovation is a notable example of problem identification and solution-oriented thinking,” he added, referring to the self-service medication system.

Last week, Nkengasong hosted an event attended by Dr Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of PEPFAR, coinciding with 18 years of PEPFAR’s presence in Namibia.

Shangula commended Namibia for the progress towards the eradication of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and for achieving 92-99-94 on the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency