Alvine Kapitako WINDHOEK - The United States of America President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme in Namibia, ensured that 106 000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) registered to receive social grants with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare countrywide. The figure is for the period between November 2016 and March 2018. There are about 87 460 OVCs registered with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare countrywide, according to statistics released by the ministry in February. PEPFAR supports Namibia in three strategic areas, namely the prevention of HIV transmission, care and treatment of people living with HIV and strengthening the public health system to effectively and sustainably respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Eric Atkins, the Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Namibia, explained that PEPFAR saw the need to reach out to OVCs with services to protect and prevent new HIV infections among them. In addition, the services are to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS by providing necessary care and support to OVC, that includes education subsidies, improving child and family relationships, assisting early childhood development programmes and keeping children in family structures, Atkins said. Additionally, PEPFAR saw the need to reach out to OVCs through services to train OVC households to improve their skills in entrepreneurship and income generation, he stated. Furthermore, 13 066 most vulnerable OVC under the age of 18 are served by community health volunteers, Dr Abeje Zegeye, the Continuum of Care HIV/AIDS team leader at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said at a PEPFAR media information session last week. “The most vulnerable are assisted by community health workers. PEPFAR provides training and mentoring of the community health workers to conduct OVC screening to identify the needs of each OVC, identify the most vulnerable, enroll the most vulnerable including households, and provide the needed services,” Atkins explained. The regions supported by PEPFAR for OVC services include Kavango East, Kavango West, Khomas, Oshikoto, Ohagwena, Oshana, Omusati, and Zambezi. Furthermore, PEPFAR supports 1 400 healthcare workers at more than 250 health facilities in eight priority regions. These are Kavango East and West, Khomas, Oshikoto, Ohagwena, Oshana, Omusati, and Zambezi.
New Era Reporter
2018-06-28 08:57:50 9 months ago