HIV-Positive People Want Grants

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By Surihe Gaomas

RUNDU

People infected with HIV/Aids in Kavango Region have made an appeal for the immediate implementation of the proposed Basic Income Grant (BIG).

The call comes against the backdrop of poverty and lack of basic necessities for people living with HIV/Aids.

Chairperson of the Kavango Bridges of Hope in Rundu, Rosvita Ndumba, said there is a dire need for such a grant for thousands of sick people in the region.

“Government did an excellent job in rolling out the antiretroviral treatment, the ARVs, but HIV-positive people still need some kind of basic income or social grant for their day to day survival, because they are very poor,” said Ndumba who has been running the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) since its inception three years ago.

The majority of HIV-positive people in the region live in squalor with no proper shelter or clean drinking water. Many are jobless and have no money for food.

“People just cannot take medication on an empty stomach – their condition can become even worse. We don’t know why government stopped the disability grant for some infected people,” said Ndumba.

According to Ndumba, when a doctor declares in a patient’s medical report that the patient is fit for work, and even if he or she does not have work the disability grant is stopped. Ndumba feels this is to the detriment of the jobless HIV-positive person, because when his or her health deteriorates they have nothing to fall back on.

“HIV/Aids is a permanent disease, so the grant must also be permanent. Discontinuing this grant affects people’s health, who become sick again. So that is why we are calling for the Basic Income Grant of at least N$100 for each person,” stressed Ndumba, adding that the number of people on ARV treatment is increasing every month.

The Kavango Region has made tremendous progress in rolling out the ARV treatment to those living positively with the virus. The number which previously stood at 1??????’??

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