Business Leaders Hold Key to Fighting Aids

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By Maxwell Ng’ambi WINDHOEK Chief Executive Officers and well-known business leaders are key factors in mobilizing and creating awareness among the broader business leadership on the need for all employees to have access to affordable health-care with regard to HIV and AIDS, Namibia Coalition on Aids (Nabcoa) has said. Nabcoa’s Senior Project Officer, Aina Heita, said this in her presentation last Friday at an Aids leadership forum held at the Nampower Convention Centre under the theme ‘Workforce Healthy Business Initiative’. “Employees are a precious asset, so it is important to protect that asset and enhance it. A healthy workforce is an essential element in delivering high profits and economic growth,” she said. According to Nabcoa, providing health-care to employees would mean healthy, motivated, energetic employees, fewer sick days, lower health-care costs, a stronger employer/employee relationship and high productivity. The General Manager for PharmAccess Namibia, Ingrid de Beer, announced at the same function the introduction of new health-care medical insurance products to cater for HIV/AIDS treatment. De Beer said the NHP Blue Diamond has unlimited primary health-care, including HIV/Aids treatment at DHS network service provider only, plus unlimited hospitalization in the private wing of State hospitals. She said the cost was pegged between N$218 and N$283 per month, based on age. “Another is the vitality day-care which is at N$10ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 general and primary health-care and unlimited hospitalization in private wing of State hospitals, choice of service provider for all outpatient-care plus N$100ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 HIV/Aids including N$60ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 private hospitalization benefit,” she said. De Beer said the cost per month of this product was between N$146 and N$306 based on income. She also said the third product was known as vitality and the cost was only at N$30 per month. As the situation stands today, 50ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 Namibians need HIV treatment and less than half have access. A total of 19ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 receive in the public sector while 5ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 800 receive in the private sector. Statistics further reveal that the formally employed in the country are approximately 320ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000, of which 128ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 have medical insurance. This implies that the uninsured employed in the formal sector are pegged at 60%. Eighty-four percent of Namibia’s population are dependent upon public health-care facilities or out-of-pocket spending for general health-care and HIV/ AIDS treatment.