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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

      

Swapo Man Proposes 'Disclosure' of HIV When Person is Buried

Chrispin Inambao

A TOP Swapo official yesterday proposed that the globally respected norm of "no disclosure" of illness should be relaxed when it comes to HIV.

In addition, the cause of death should be revealed when a person is buried - to amplify the seriousness of HIV-AIDS, ruling party MP Hifikepunye Pohamba said in the National Assembly.

Pohamba was speaking during debate on the Appropriation Bill for the 2003-2004 financial year.

At present 230 000 Namibians in the age category 15 to 49 out of a population of 1,8 million are HIV positive.

    

This translates into a prevalence rate of 23,3 per cent, one of the five highest in the world.

Pohamba opened his contribution to the debate by saying he fully supports an initiative to create a fund that could help to contain the epidemic, with funding coming from both the State and the private sector.

"I would like to propose that the internationally respected medical norms of no disclosure of sickness be relaxed when it comes to HIV-AIDS pandemic. That is to say if one dies of AIDS, it should be stated in the death certificate and mourners be informed during burial service [that the person died from AIDS]," he said.

"Such information, if provided, would serve as yet more evidence to the public that the disease is indeed taking away the lives of the beloved ones," he said.

In a related development, an opposition MP, Linus Chata of the Congress of Democrats, castigated Government for taking a limp-wristed approach towards fighting the pandemic.

"It is very sad to observe that in the face of the HIV-AIDS pandemic no specific amount of money is set aside to fight the scourge. Government instead chose to start a fund for orphans with an initial capital injection of N$250 000 (US$25 000)," he said.

"Our position is that a fund for HIV-AIDS is the most urgent priority and the most appropriate starting point," he said.

"An orphan fund here, and a small HIV-AIDS intervention initiative there, is suggestive of a piecemeal approach to a complex problem. We therefore call for a much more comprehensive HIV-AIDS fund now".

    

Namibia's Budget for the current financial year is N$12,25 billion of which N$1,66 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The Ministry plans to spend N$1,57 billion of its allocation on operational items, i. e. or the purchase of medicine, salaries, transport, per diems.

Only N$86,2 million is for development projects.