As part of its efforts to combat HIV and AIDS, Namibia has began the process of acquiring 18 million condoms, which should be sufficient to sustain the nation for the next nine months.
Ben Nangombe, the executive director of the nation’s health ministry, made this revelation a day after the country received delivery of two consignments of condoms from development partners within the span of two weeks. These condoms were sent one day apart.
According to what he told News24, “The Ministry of Health and Social Services has began with a procedure to buy about 18 million condoms,” and the delivery of these condoms is anticipated to take place by the end of the following month.
A local producer of the “Smile” brand of condoms had ceased operations, according to an article that was published in The Namibian newspaper the previous year. This created a strain on the country’s supply at a time when the Covid-19 lockdown was at its most intense.
The most recent shipment of over 6.9 million condoms and 2.6 million lubricants was a gift from the United States of America through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). These supplies were intended for populations in Namibia that do not have access to condoms that are provided by the government.
According to a statement released by the United States, “These commodities have a value of US$275 000 (about R4.3 million), and they will be distributed to 273 hotspots and 14 pick-up points.” The distribution will primarily target Key Populations (KPs) that are not yet supplied by the Ministry of Health.
KPs are often women who work in the sex industry, persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex, and transgender people.
Concerns that there would be a scarcity were allayed by Nangombe, although he did acknowledge that “condoms are among the fast-moving goods in the Ministry of Healthy and Social Services.”
He said that “at the present time, there is an ample supply of condoms in the nation, and as a result, health institutions in the country are regularly getting condoms.”
As of the previous year, the United Nations estimated that 8.2 percent of the population, or 2.5 million people, were living with HIV/AIDS. According to the statistics, the plague was responsible for the deaths of 2,870 people in the year 2021.
Namibia is on pace to meet the objectives of the 95-95-95 plan, which aims to detect 95 percent of all HIV-positive persons, deliver antiretroviral medication (ART) for 95 percent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 95 percent of those treated by the year 2030.
“Our programme data indicates that 92 percent of persons living with HIV know their status, 99 percent are on treatment, and 93 percent of those getting treatment are virally suppressed,” Nangombe said. “Our programme data also reveals that 93 percent of those receiving treatment are virally suppressed.”
According to the United Nations, there remain, nevertheless, several key gaps, the most notable of which are among children aged less than nine years old and males aged 20-34 who are uninformed of their HIV-positive status and are not receiving treatment.