By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Ten percent out of the 19,7 percent total prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country is among the age group of 15 to 19 years. This and other startling facts about the HIV/AIDS pandemic was yesterday made public by Prime Minister Nahas Angula when he officially opened a three-day Future Leaders Summit on HIV/AIDS in the capital. The summit, a collaborating effort between the Polytechnic of Namibia and Elon University in the United States, will host various health experts over the next two days. “HIV/AIDS is a serious health challenge especially in sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 60 percent of all people in the world living with AIDS. It is reported that the highest prevalence figures are recorded in the SADC region alone. In Namibia the prevalence rate is 19,7 of which 10 percent occurs among the youth between 15 and 19 years. In order to reverse the trend of infection and prevalence, a dedicated leadership is called for. This summit is thus opportune,” Angula said. The Prime Minister proudly informed those present about the government’s Third Medium Term National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS. “There is an urgent need to join hands with other workers of HIV prevention in the fight against AIDS. We are encouraged by the fact that the Medium Term Plan is being implemented with active support of donors such as the United States President’s Emergency Plan, which contributed US$42,6 million last year alone. I believe this summit will support the National Strategic Plan to take on the many challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS for the sake of saving humanity from the scourge,” Angula said. At the same occasion professor of Sociology at Elon University, Tom Acaro revealed that presently more than 40 million people globally are AIDS infected. “The pandemic is a global medical and social issue. The social fields in which it exists are complex beyond the understanding of one view or discipline. Therefore it is imperative that the problem of HIV/AIDS be addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective at this summit, with tools from the field of biology, business, religious studies, accounting, sociology and psychology,” professor Acaro said. Stanley Harsha, director of the American Cultural Centre in Windhoek informed the audience that his government has a long-term commitment with Namibia in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “The American people are proud to work in partnership with Namibia, creating hope for a future free of HIV/AIDS,” Harsha said to great applause.
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