The Promise of Partnerships: AIDS Day 2006

The Promise of Partnerships: AIDS Day 2006

WORLD AIDS Day was an opportunity to remember the more than 25 million people who have died from AIDS and support the over 38 million people who are currently living with HIV.

It was also a time to recommit ourselves to compassionate action and the promise of partnerships that create new hope. In 2003, President George W Bush announced the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – a five-year, US$15 billion, multifaceted approach to combating HIV-AIDS globally.Thanks to partnerships with the people of many nations, the American people have kept this commitment.PEPFAR supports diverse prevention, treatment and care programmes, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results.Here, the heart of this initiative is a partnership with the Namibian people and the government of Namibia to build a locally-driven response to the pandemic.The leadership and commitment to fighting AIDS in Namibia is strong and growing.Results have been achieved by the work of dedicated people in Namibia, including those in faith-based and community-based organisations.People living with HIV have also been instrumental in planning, delivering, and monitoring the effectiveness of HIV-AIDS programmes.The US President’s Emergency Plan is dedicated to supporting these efforts today, and to increasing local capacity for Namibians to respond tomorrow.PROGRESS Through PEPFAR Namibia, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against HIV-AIDS.One case is the Odibo AIDS ward at the Odibo Health Centre.Once known for its deathly ill patients who had little hope for survival, it is now a completely different place thanks to a US government-funded anti-retroviral treatment (ART) programme.Before the ART rollout, the two-room ward was always filled to capacity and everyone who entered was expected to die.Afterwards, conditions changed in a remarkable way, with many patients on anti-retroviral treatment through the assistance of the home-based care team.Today, patients on ART are doing so well that the AIDS ward is now practically empty.Instead patients are following their ART treatment at home.Take Linea, a former ward patient: “I weighed 58 kg before treatment and 62 kg after two months of treatment.I gained 4 kg since I started treatment and I feel so strong.”Another patient, John, has had no health concerns since starting treatment and advises other men to “stop hiding.Come out and access all the benefits.”Or consider the success of Project Hope, a local NGO which manages a US government-funded microcredit programme to provide loans to Namibians who help to support children orphaned by HIV-AIDS.Josephine Nuuyoma is 65 and, with her husband Frans Shiimi, has lived in the Okalindi-Olupumbu village in the Omusati Region for over 51 years.She gave birth to nine children, six of whom died of HIV-AIDS.Josephine has become a self-employed business woman, selling bread and amarula oil, thanks to this programme.She received her start-up capital of N$100 (about US$15) through a loan from the Village Health Fund Project funded by Project HOPE.Earning a profit of nearly N$90 a week has allowed her to support six grandsons who were orphaned.She is able to pay their school fees, buy books and clothes and cover hospital expenses.A shrewd money manager, Josephine is even able to put some money away for the future.And she is not resting on her laurels.She has recently taken out her third loan, of N$300 (about US$43) with which she is expanding her business.She has become an HIV-AIDS advocate after losing her children, saying, “Let’s fight stigma and discrimination in the community!” Local people around the world, in partnership with the American people, are turning the tide against HIV-AIDS in their communities.The promise of these partnerships is to develop the capacity that will allow communities to sustain their efforts long after the initial five years.* Joyce Barr is the US Ambassador to NamibiaIn 2003, President George W Bush announced the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – a five-year, US$15 billion, multifaceted approach to combating HIV-AIDS globally.Thanks to partnerships with the people of many nations, the American people have kept this commitment.PEPFAR supports diverse prevention, treatment and care programmes, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results.Here, the heart of this initiative is a partnership with the Namibian people and the government of Namibia to build a locally-driven response to the pandemic.The leadership and commitment to fighting AIDS in Namibia is strong and growing.Results have been achieved by the work of dedicated people in Namibia, including those in faith-based and community-based organisations.People living with HIV have also been instrumental in planning, delivering, and monitoring the effectiveness of HIV-AIDS programmes.The US President’s Emergency Plan is dedicated to supporting these efforts today, and to increasing local capacity for Namibians to respond tomorrow. PROGRESS Through PEPFAR Namibia, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against HIV-AIDS.One case is the Odibo AIDS ward at the Odibo Health Centre.Once known for its deathly ill patients who had little hope for survival, it is now a completely different place thanks to a US government-funded anti-retroviral treatment (ART) programme.Before the ART rollout, the two-room ward was always filled to capacity and everyone who entered was expected to die. Afterwards, conditions changed in a remarkable way, with many patients on anti-retroviral treatment through the assistance of the home-based care team.Today, patients on ART are doing so well that the AIDS ward is now practically empty. Instead patients are following their ART treatment at home.Take Linea, a former ward patient: “I weighed 58 kg before treatment and 62 kg after two months of treatment.I gained 4 kg since I started treatment and I feel so strong.”Another patient, John, has had no health concerns since starting treatment and advises other men to “stop hiding.Come out and access all the benefits.” Or consider the success of Project Hope, a local NGO which manages a US government-funded microcredit programme to provide loans to Namibians who help to support children orphaned by HIV-AIDS. Josephine Nuuyoma is 65 and, with her husband Frans Shiimi, has lived in the Okalindi-Olupumbu village in the Omusati Region for over 51 years.She gave birth to nine children, six of whom died of HIV-AIDS.Josephine has become a self-employed business woman, selling bread and amarula oil, thanks to this programme. She received her start-up capital of N$100 (about US$15) through a loan from the Village Health Fund Project funded by Project HOPE.Earning a profit of nearly N$90 a week has allowed her to support six grandsons who were orphaned.She is able to pay their school fees, buy books and clothes and cover hospital expenses.A shrewd money manager, Josephine is even able to put some money away for the future.And she is not resting on her laurels. She has recently taken out her third loan, of N$300 (about US$43) with which she is expanding her business.She has become an HIV-AIDS advocate after losing her children, saying, “Let’s fight stigma and discrimination in the community!” Local people around the world, in partnership with the American people, are turning the tide against HIV-AIDS in their communities.The promise of these partnerships is to develop the capacity that will allow communities to sustain their efforts long after the initial five years.* Joyce Barr is the US Ambassador to Namibia

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