Health Ministry and U.S. Ambassador introduce most advanced HIV treatment to Namibia

Fredrika Ambunda, Executive Director for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, U.S. Ambassador for Namibia, Lisa Johnson, and Pharmacist at the clinic, Patsva Madzokere, pictured at Nathaniel Maxwilili Clinic with the newly introduced ART medication, TLD

On 1 October, 2019, the Executive Director from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, and U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, marked the introduction of the most advanced HIV treatment currently available, Tenofovir/Lamivudine/Dolutegravir (TLD), to Namibia.

The Executive Director and the Ambassador visited Nathaniel Maxwilili Clinic in Windhoek. During the clinic visit in Windhoek, the Executive Director said, “By introducing TLD, the Ministry is ensuring that people in Namibia have access to the best possible treatment for HIV. During the next six months, clinics and health facilities will discuss whether this medication is right for each HIV-positive individual, and if so, when the medication will be provided. A phased approach to the introduction of the medication will ensure that each and every patient receives an assessment of their specific needs and requirements.”  The Executive Director congratulated clinic staff, both at Nathaniel Maxwilili Clinic and throughout the country, on providing patients with the best possible HIV care and treatment.

The Executive Director also explained that, over time, patients will be able to collect 30-day or 90-day containers of the medication. The 90-day container will reduce the number of times patients have to come to a health facility to collect their medication. This will save time for both patients and clinic staff.

Ambassador Johnson commended the Ministry for introducing TLD. “TLD is globally acknowledged as the best medication for the treatment of HIV for the majority of patients. This medicine has fewer side effects and is more likely to keep working than other HIV treatment medicines.  It will improve the lives of people living with HIV. TLD is a great benefit for Namibia and for the individuals who will receive this medication.”

The U.S. Government, through funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting the Ministry with the transition to TLD through support for the update of the HIV treatment guidelines, training for staff throughout the country on how to prescribe this medication, and by providing an initial supply of the medication.

The U.S. Government, through PEPFAR, is procuring 95,000 one-month bottles of fixed combination of Tenofovir/Lamivudine/ Dolutegravir, commonly known as TLD, and Dolutegravir alone, commonly known as DTG, in order to ensure the Ministry immediately has stock available.