FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Global Fund signs $100 million grant agreement with Namibia

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria signed grant agreements on Tuesday with Namibia for $91.6 million to support the national response to HIV and $8.5 million for malaria programs.

Programs supported by the HIV grants will be jointly implemented by Namibia's Ministry of Health and by NANASO, a network of AIDS service organizations. The program will focus on high impact interventions, including the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, basic prevention for men who have sex with men and sex workers, targeted behavioral change communication, HIV counseling and testing, condom promotion and distribution and treatment, care and support.

"We are very pleased to be signing these grants, which will allow us to continue to improve the quality of health of our people in Namibia," Richard Kamwi, Namibia's minister of health, said. "The Global Fund continues to be an important partner in our country, and we are committed to continue investing in this fight. Our government is currently funding 75 percent of (antiretroviral) treatment and we thank the Global Fund for funding the remaining 25 percent. Thanks to this support we were able to reach 85 percent coverage in March last year."

While Namibia's 13.4 percent HIV prevalence in its general population is one of the highest in the continent, the nation dropped from an estimated 10,000 new infections in 2008 to 8,000 in 2011. Namibia also succeeded in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

"Namibia is a great example of a Global Fund partnership at work," Lelio Marmora, the head of Africa and the Middle East for the Global Fund, said. "Government, technical partners, civil society, and bilateral agencies all came together to ensure that high impact interventions were included and that funding and programmatic gaps were addressed. We want to thank everyone for their commitment to the process."

Next week, Namibia will sign an additional HIV grant for $19 million.

Namibia also made significant progress in reducing malaria mortality. After experiencing 1,700 malaria deaths in 2001, there were only 36 malaria deaths in 2011.

Since the inception of the Global Fund, the organization approved $325.5 million for grants in Namibia for HIV, TB and malaria, with more than $190 million disbursed for program implementation.