By Engel Nawatiseb GROOTFONTEIN The National Coordinator for the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders (AMICA-ALL) Moderatha Shaduka has commended the Grootfontein Municipal Council for developing an HIV/AIDS Service Directory for its residents. The launch is second to the initiative of the City of Wind-hoek and should serve to encourage other local authorities to follow suit. Shaduka noted that the leadership of the town has incorporated most if not all of HIV/AIDS programmes as well as sectoral obligations of the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS. This is in line with AMICAALL principles in Africa. She made the remarks at the commemoration of World AIDS day at Grootfontein last week. “Grootfontein has recognised the fact that the nation is hungry for action and not lip service alone. Today marks the first day of incorporating the theme, Stop Aids, Make A Promise, in your municipal HIV/AIDS programme to act accordingly until next year same time. “The theme calls for each resident of this town to translate talk into the much needed action – we owe it to our community members,” said Shaduka. She stressed that the pandemic has become an issue of life and death. Therefore, Namibians should not remain inactive. Instead, they should save lives by raising awareness. “We were taught to treasure Africanism and it is in that spirit that we are reminded not to discriminate but give support to those in need. Let us develop a caring attitude towards each other and make our brothers and sisters feel that they can still contribute to the well being of their families, the communities and of course the country.” She added that individuals do not need to be scientists to be able to make a difference. She urged local, regional and national leaders to raise awareness amongst their peers in cases where cultures do not allow people to dis-cuss issues related to HIV/AIDS. Deputy Mayor of Groot-fontein Hangula Paulus said municipalities and councils are not themselves immune to the impact of HIV/AIDS because infections and illnesses and death amongst employees would result in increased personnel costs, productivity losses and staff turn over. “It is difficult to measure the impact of the disease on staff morale and loss of institutional memory but within the last two years, we recorded a staff turn over of around 19, some of them because of ill health and others passed away.” A medical practitioner at the town’s state hospital, Dr T. Kandawasvika stressed that 320 HIV/AIDS patients are currently receiving follow-up treatment, some successfully completing the treatment schedule. He said most of them are back at their workplaces while others are presently looking after their families. “Such patients need a lot of support as they go through their treatment. “We have since established that patients lacking in support often do not do well on ARV treatment simply because they do not eat well and may forget to take their medication on time, or they may be so depressed that they resort to alcohol and drug abuse.” The Anti-Retroviral drugs treatment programme was introduced to the hospital in August last year.
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