ONGWEDIVA - In the quest to make anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment accessible, Tonata has set up more than 300 Community Adherence Groups benefiting more than 3 000 members in eight district hospitals and surrounding areas.
Tonata, which is an Oshiwambo word that literally means ‘open your eyes’, is a network of people living with HIV.
The groups in Omusati, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa, and Kavango East were established from October 2018 with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
To celebrate this notable achievement, the United States of America’s ambassador to Namibia will visit Onkani clinic in Oshikuku District in Omusati Region on Friday.
The established groups allow for group collective collection of ARV medication instead of having individuals collecting it themselves at health facilities.
Victory Kamule from Tonata said the primary aim of setting up the support groups is to bring health care closer to the people and to ensure that communities have access to treatment.
Kamule said that previously some people ended up defaulting on the prescribed medication because they did not have transport to get to health facilities to collect the drugs.
However, with the system in place, individuals are guaranteed support and care from their peers.
“Things have changed since the establishment of the groups because group leaders now follow up on the people in their groups and ensure that they adhere to the treatment,” said Kamule.
In addition to collecting medication, the groups also serve as platform for the members to educate each other on stigma and discrimination as well as substance and alcohol abuse.
“There is support for the people and the facilities because now health facilities are decongested as a result,” said Kamule.
It further also gives room to health officials to attend to those critically in need.
To this end, the groups in the communities have been increasing in the various districts.
Tonata has a current membership of over 18 000 people living with HIV and more than 600 support groups.
2019-09-04 07:26:54 19 days ago