WINDHOEK – A number of health facilities throughout the country provide free Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services to the public, the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula said.
The health ministry has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) and other partners to ensure that these services are available throughout the country, said Shangula, at the milestone celebration where 150 000 men were circumcised through the health ministry and U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) since 2009.
“The AIDSFree projected funded by Usaid, assisted the Ministry of Health and Social Services to reach boys and men in the most remote villages and corners of Namibia,” said Shangula.
The minister noted that circumcision lowers a man’s risk of becoming infected with HIV by 60 percent. This also reduces the national HIV cost of treatment due to reduced new HIV incidence.
“The involvement of the private health sector in the VMMC service provision has been phenomenal in increasing access to VMMC in the Khomas Region. This model we are swiftly moving to Omusati and Oshikoto regions,” said the minister.
Omusati and Oshikoto regions are rural and the provision of VMMC services depends heavily on outreach services, the minister said.
“Arrangements have been started with private providers in Outapi and Tsumeb, teaming up with the state teams and this guarantees high levels of participation,” said the minister. Meanwhile, the CEO of the Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (Namaf) Stephen Tjiuoro said Namaf approved a tariff for VMMC.
“This means we approved and instituted a tariff to allow men who are insured through medical aid funds to be able to get access to circumcision as a prevention measure. This tariff was introduced in 2012 and it put Namibia on the HIV/AIDS prevention map by being the first country to cover circumcision for HIV prevention,” said Tjiuoro.
He said Namaf recognised the crucial role the medical aid industry plays in addressing HIV/AIDS in Namibia and the untapped potential that could further be explored through financing VMMC for those who are insured.
“In addition to the tariff, we have supported private sector reporting of vital HIV related statistics including circumcision. Through this support, the medical aid industry through Namaf has contributed over 20 percent of the results we are celebrating. This demonstrates how synergy and collaboration with the private sector for a national health agenda yield results and impact,” said Tjiuoro.
2019-06-24 10:20:03 25 days ago