Namibia’s Health and Social Services Minister, Bernard Haufiku has urged the community to stay away from “self-styled prophets and healers” who claim that they can cure HIV/Aids.
Dr Haufiku said this at the Odibo St Mary’s Mission in the Ohangwena Region during the launch of the IntraHealth’s new US Agency for International Development (USAID) HIV Clinical Services Technical Assistance Project (UTAP) on Wednesday.
Dr Haufiku urged the public to remain vigilant, noting that so-called prophets and healers just want to make money by “milking” ignorant Namibians.
“They cannot cure Aids. What do they know about medicines?” the Minister asked.
He charged that the prophets and healers in question are false in their claims and are literally telling people lies that they can cure Aids.
Dr Haufiku emphasized the continuous training of healthcare workers and the community at large about taking charge of their own health and preventing ill health is paramount.
He stated that HIV is treatable, and with appropriately initiated and maintained antiretroviral therapy (ART) an infected person can lead a normal productive life.
According to Dr Haufiku, about 13 million HIV-infected people worldwide were on ART in 2013.
He said 150 000 people are on ART in Namibia and this number does not include those under the care of private practitioners.
Speaking at the same event, the US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton indicated that the IntraHealth is a four-year programme to be funded by the U.S. Government to the tune of some N.dollars 120 million.
“UTAP will support Namibia as we all work together rapidly to expand HIV testing, increase services for pregnant HIV-positive women and babies, and reach Namibians living with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV,” he said.
IntraHealth is an international organisation that provides training, mentoring and supportive supervision to help health workers deliver high-quality and comprehensive health services.