By William Mbangula
The son of the first President of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, has praised Namibia’s ARV programme as one of the best in Africa.
Dr Waza Kaunda, who came to address an HIV/Aids conference here on behalf of his father, said the Namibian ARV programme needs commendation because it has already reached the 50 percent mark of the total population.
Kaunda, who is a medical doctor and Director of Operations of the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation (KKCAF), spoke to New Era after opening the Yelula/V Khai conference at Oshandira Lodge on August 15.
He said: “I have to congratulate the organisers of this conference for having brought together many people from different backgrounds. Again, I wish to laud the Government of Namibia, more specifically the Ministry of Health and Social Services for having reached the target of 50 percent of people who have received ARV treatment.”
Asked what advice he would give to the Namibian people with regard to the anti-Hiv/Aids campaign, Kaunda noted that Namibians are doing much better and they need to, but should consolidate and keep fighting the pandemic.
He noted: “You are doing fine so far with all the community-based organisations and NGOs networking with the government to fight the disease.
This is wonderful to see the interaction among stakeholders. Your hospitals are good and your economy is functioning well. I see development in the country. I don’t think there is much I need to tell you as a country. But one important element we need to take into consideration is to provide nutrition to the people who are being treated.”
Waza, who is the second son of the first Zambian president, cautioned against stigmatising people who live with HIV/Aids because the disease can affect everybody as it is linked to the reproduction process of the human being, which is god-given.
As a way to help create awareness, all people need to know their status, and only then would attitudes towards the pandemic and the people affected change.
He urged Namibians to unite because whatever has happened in the past will never come back. The important thing is to face the future in a determined and united manner to safeguard the country’s freedom and independence, he said.
He cautioned that endless bickering among Namibians would not help the nation but only give a chance to enemies to take away their country and its valuable resources.
The KKCAF, which started its activities in 2001, has as one of its key objectives sharing knowledge and information with other stakeholders in the HIV/Aids campaign. It is involved in sensitization and treatment programmes which include, among others, running nutrition, education and Hiv/Aids orphan centres.
With its head office in Zambia, the foundation is represented in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique.
The conference at Oshandira was also addressed by the Governor of Oshana Clemens Kashuupulwa, who urged political, religious and community leaders to be at the forefront of efforts to halt the spread of HIV/Aids and to support those infected and affected in order to enable them to live positive and productive lives.
He said the Government has rolled out access to treatment and put up structures in place such as regional Aids coordinating committees, which facilitate the establishment of AIDS coordinating committees at constituency levels.
Said the Governor: “It is not only the government leadership that makes a difference. We are all here because in one way or another, we are leaders in our respective communities. We may be leaders of civil societies such as the CBOs and NGOs, working to support through home-based care those infected or affected, counselling, information sharing, income generation or by other constructive means. We may even be religious leaders, whose congregations are doing the same work.”
Other speakers included the leader of the Congress of Democrats Ben Ulenga, Swapo MPs, Chief Samuel Ankama and Peya Mushelenga.