Low uptake of HIV counselling in Kavango East

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John Muyamba

Rundu-Kavango East Regional Governor Dr Samuel Mbambo has lamented the fact that men in the region have a low interest in health-seeking behaviour, which has resulted in their low uptake in HIV/AIDs counselling and testing.

The governor was speaking in his state of the region address last Friday at the Kavango East Regional Council Auditorium in Rundu.

Mbambo also noted that 223 cases of attempted suicide were recorded in 2015/16 and this figure increased to 242 during 2016/17 – the majority were male.

“What is the problem with us men – are we afraid to face problems, or what is it?” Mbambo questioned.

Mbambo furthermore said that Kavango East faces various infrastructure development challenges in various sectors, including health and education.

“The region also has a serious shortage of qualified tutors at Namcol and learners have to walk long distances to attend classes at various Namcol centres around the region, especially in rural areas.”

He further revealed the region has seen an increase in malaria. “To date we have been challenged by high malaria cases – approximately 15,000 positive cases have been recorded. This is because of a high refusal rate for indoor residual spraying. People don’t want their homes and homesteads to be sprayed and that is a challenge health workers are facing.”

Another challenge highlighted is the lack of medical specialists and specialised equipment at the Rundu State Hospital, which leads to high referrals to Windhoek.

“Local authorities have insufficient funds to develop municipal infrastructure as well as provide proper services to inhabitants,” Mbambo stressed.

But despite these challenges, he said, 14 boreholes were surveyed in the current financial year (2017/2018).

“The contractor is currently on site. These (boreholes) are to benefit from the special fund donated by the Government of the Republic of South Africa through the drought mitigation strategy.”

Mbambo urged the relevant authorities in various institutions in the region to ensure all capital projects are implemented, monitored and evaluated during NDP5.

“The region should adhere to the call by President Hage Geingob that this year is the year of rededication in all projects and programmes, be it government or private that need to be carried out. All stakeholders should rededicate themselves in the promotion and implementation of ‘Operation Werengendje’ for this region to become the food basket of Namibia.”

He said the situation has given the region impetus to take advantage of its resources, such as availability of agricultural land and water to enhance food production to eradicate poverty and hunger, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, goals 1 and 2), and to promote food security through ‘Operation Werengendje’, as articulated in the HPP and NDP5.

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