Over 100 000 OVCs benefit from N.dollars 527 million US assistance

Over 100 000 orphaned and vulnerable young women from several regions in Namibia have benefited from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Dreams project valued at N.dollars 527 million.

The just ended Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) Programme was introduced in 2018 with a comprehensive, multi-sectoral package of core interventions aimed at reducing the rate of HIV among adolescent girls and young women in developing countries.

In an interview with Nampa recently, United States of America Embassy in Windhoek Public Affairs Officer, Tiffany Miller said since its inception in 2018, over 100 000 adolescent and young women have benefited from the Dreams programme, while 117 420 benefited from the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programme introduced in 2013.

She noted the regions include Khomas, Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi, where the programme provided a household case management system to support the enrolment of vulnerable beneficiaries.

Miller explained that through the programme, 95 per cent of OVC beneficiaries know their HIV status, 100 per cent are on antiretroviral therapy and 96 per cent have suppressed their viral load.

She noted that 3 905 (77 per cent) out of 5 041 undocumented beneficiaries have been assisted to receive their birth certificates, while 10 984 (92 per cent) out of 11 949 children who were eligible for education were enrolled in school.

She further noted that 11 817 caregivers from 675 village groups benefited to a value of N.dollars 3.6 million, while over 9 000 caregivers participated and graduated from the parenting programme.

“The children stay in the programme until they are stable or reach an age of young adult programming,” she said.

Miller noted that challenges facing the programme currently are that there is no health information system to follow up on cases over a long period of time for proper case management, which is an impediment in sustaining health outcomes.

On 17 August 2023, PEPFAR introduced a new five-year ‘Reach Namibia’ programme valued at N.dollars 840 million, which will build on the successes of Dreams, and aimed at inclusiveness of boys and young men.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency