By Anna Ingwafa
The Ministry of Health and Social Services plans to commemorate National HIV Testing Day on May 09 and there will be a pilot project for free counselling and testing in Caprivi, Erongo, Oshana, Karas and Khomas regions running for three days from May 8 to 10.
Free HIV testing and counselling will be done at all clinics and health centres in Oshana Region as from 08h00 to 17h00 but will be closed on Saturdays except at the Oshakati State Hospital that will open until 20h00 as well as on Saturday the 10th.
Health Director in Oshana Region Dr Naftali Hamata said the aim is to mobilize the community to access counselling and testing services as well as to get many people to know their HIV status.
He urged everyone to go for free counselling and testing, more especially men, at any health facility, including the New Start Centre at Tonateni in the vicinity of the Roman Catholic Church in Oshakati.
“Many a time, people and especially men are seeking counselling and testing when they are referred by doctors, getting married or for insurance. More often they come to hospital when they are already wasted and appropriate assistance can no longer be given,” he said.
He reminded all clinics and health facilities that no client/patient seeking counselling and testing services or who has been referred for such services on those three days should be charged and all those who will visit the health facilities should go straight to the waiting areas for counselling and not to queue at the receptions.
All the regions that are earmarked for pilot counselling and testing are required to meet a specific target.
Oshana is required to offer counselling and testing to 2 244 clients in those three days. Last year Oshana tested 21 558 people.
Hamata made a call especially to those who do not know their status to come forth and get tested.
“Knowing our status will help us to plan our future, live positively and be productive.”