At least 180 000 Namibians that live with HIV are on antiretroviral drug treatment.
Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the Minister of Health and Social Services gave statistics in this regard last week during the launch of Pelebox Smart Lockers that would enable patients on chronic care to collect their medicine without having to wait at distribution centres for long periods of time.
Shangula added that more than 40 percent of patients living with HIV have access to the recently launched smart lockers
“Eligible patients who are clinically stable and on chronic medication will be able to benefit from this system. These include patients who use ARV medication, antiepileptic medication, anti-hypertensive medication, and other cardiovascular disease treatments. There are currently more than 180 000 PLHIV on treatment, and more than 40% of them may be eligible to use these machines. The machines are easy to use and are placed in public facilities, such as hospitals, health centres and clinics,” he said.
Pelebpox is a self-service smart locker designed to provide access to pre-packed chronic medication.
In addition, he said the introduction of Pelebox Smart Lockers will also improve the rates of adherence to treatment among patients on chronic medication.
“By providing an easy and accessible way for patients to collect their repeat medication, the smart lockers will reduce the chances of patients missing their medication refill appointments, leading to better health outcomes,” he said.
In March, Shangula revealed that the number of HIV infections is disproportionally high among females compared to their male counterparts. The prevalence is high among women at 15.1 percent compared to 8.4 percent in men, he said.
Shangula said that an estimated total of 215 348 people in Namibia are living with HIV. This number includes adults and children.
According to Shangula, seven regions are reported to have higher HIV prevalence above the National prevalence in descending order from the highest. These regions are Zambezi (21.6 percent), Oshikoto (17.1 percent); Omusati (15 percent); Kavango East (14.7 percent), Kavango West (14.7 percent), Oshana (14.5 percent) and Ohangwena (14.3 percent).
“Conversely, the prevalence is lowest in Kunene at 7.1 percent and Omaheke at 7.3,” Shangula revealed.
The minister also confirmed that Namibia has successfully reached its UNAIDS 95-95 to 95 percent target rates of HIV testing, suppression and treatment as well as efforts towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.