WINDHOEK, Nov. 10 – Majority of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are on target to meet the 2nd and 3rd 90-90-90 targets, said Namibia’s Minister of Health Bernard Haufiku in the capital Windhoek recently.
Haufiku was speaking at the official opening of the SADC minsters of health and ministers responsible for HIV and AIDS meeting, where he said more needed to be done in order to realize the same achievements for the 1st 90 target.
The 90-90-90 targets are aimed at diagnosing 90 percent of all HIV-positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 percent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of those treated by 2020.
Haufiku went on to laud member states’ efforts, saying “fortunately, member states had the foresight of adopting a 10 Point Action Plan for accelerating HIV prevention.”
He also said that eight member states had exceeded the 90 percent mark in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The SADC region continues to witness a decline in new HIV infections, but Haufiku said it was worrisome to note that progress was slow towards the regional targeted reduction of new infections by 75 percent by 2020.
“While I applaud the gallant efforts of the marjority of our countries that provie anti-retroviral treatment to most of their people living with HIV and who know their status and who are now, as a result, virally suppressed, it is of paramount importance to reinvigorate our prevention efforts.
Turning to HIV and Tuberculosis, he pointed out that co-infection ranges between 1.3 percent and 97 per cent, and applauded regional efforts in putting HIV and TB patients on ARTs.
On the back drop of the 2017 World TB Report which stated nine SADC countries as part of the top 30 high burden countries in the world, he said: “It is heartening to note that at least six countries in southern Africa have achieved impressive reductions of between 4-8% per annum over a five year period. We have to scale up our efforts to address the social determinants of this preventable disease, while at the same time vigilantly ensuring that those at risk are tested and treated timeously.” – firstname.lastname@example.org