Keetmanshoop-A population-based survey aimed at generating in-depth data on the HIV epidemic in Namibia is well on track in the //Kharas Region.
The Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (NAMPHIA) survey will measure the impact of HIV programmes in the country and cover at least 12,000 randomly selected households countrywide. Communications officer for the project Farai Nyakunu says the survey is progressing well in the southern region.
Despite earlier media reports that some people around the country were not willing to take part in the survey, Nyakunu said the response from the //Kharas community has been positive and households have made it easier for their teams at various towns in the region to carry out their duties.
“The response has been positive and encouraging, with participants eager to learn their health status, so we encourage all randomly selected households to participate,” he said.
Although New Era is informed that there have been some problems experienced, with people – especially in the white community of Keetmanshoop’s Westdene suburb – reportedly refusing entry to the surveyors, but Nyakunu said this was incorrect.
“That would not be accurate. We are looking at a representative response and so far, the response in general has been positive. As with any survey of this magnitude challenges are expected, but it is important to report on the positive from the communities,” he stated.
He spoke of the importance of the survey, saying there was need to evaluate accomplishments to date and to understand the impact of HIV programmes in order to better refine the response to the epidemic in the coming years.
He said the main objective of the survey was to examine the distribution the HIV virus in Namibia, to assess the coverage and impact of HIV-related services on the population level, and to measure HIV-related risk behaviour using a nationally representative sample.
//Kharas chief medical officer Dr Refanus Kooper also urged communities in the region to open their doors for the teams to carry out their research, saying this is very important for the country. He said it should be better for people to be tested in the comfort of their houses, instead of going to health facilities for that, and therefore people should not be afraid to open their homes.
“I believe it is very nice to be tested in the comfort of your home, so I urge all residents to allow these teams to carry out their duties, for the benefit of everyone,” he said.