Good morning and thank you all for attending the PEPFAR stakeholders’ meeting to kick off this year’s COP planning season.
The United States is the single largest donor to Namibia’s fight against HIV, and we do not intend to stop now!
We are excited to begin the planning process for COP20, which will provide PEPFAR funding from October 2020 to September 2021.
Your attendance here today is essential for the success of our joint efforts. An important reason that Namibia has seen so much success in combatting HIV is because of the well-coordinated planning and execution of its programming.
Led by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, in conversation with everyone here, and guided by years of data, today you will identify gaps in HIV response and service provision, and develop strategies for the way forward.
Namibia continues to prove itself a leader in health on the continent, spending significantly towards the health of its citizens. This is a demonstration of the Namibian government’s commitment toward a sustainable HIV program over the long term.
Namibia also has a good track record of having progressive policies in place and quickly adopting new guidelines as advised by the World Health Organization, to ensure that everyone is receiving the highest quality of care.
In October 2019, the Namibian government introduced the most advanced HIV treatment currently available, TLD, with support from the United States government and other partners. Today, we can confidently say that people who are HIV positive, when they consistently take their medication and are virally suppressed, cannot transmit HIV. This will lead Namibia to an HIV-free generation.
The presence of members from civil society organizations is another achievement for Namibia, because it highlights the strong working relationship between government and CSOs.
Stakeholder engagement forms an integral part of our partnership and is a reason why PEPFAR is widely viewed as one of the most responsive, efficient and effective assistance programs in history.
Your presence today demonstrates your continued commitment to address HIV in Namibia, for the benefit of the entire country.
Your teamwork will ensure that Namibia continues to be a model country on the world stage as you work toward attaining and maintaining the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.
As you begin your work today, I would like to highlight the importance of adherence and prevention. You will see that much of the direction provided to us by Washington focus on these two areas. I look forward to seeing the outputs of today’s meeting and, in particular, your reflections on these two areas.
I know this is a lot of work and that the process is continually changing. Please know that I value opportunities such as these to take a comprehensive view of Namibia’s HIV response, allowing us to see programmatic gaps and to coordinate on how we should address them.
As we kick off 2020, may we continue to accelerate our efforts towards sustainable epidemic control and to ending AIDS in Namibia by 2030.