CDC in Namibia

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established an office in Namibia in 2002, with satellite offices to implement key HIV programs in high HIV burden regions in the country. CDC is helping to build the capacity of Namibia’s healthcare workforce to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats, with a primary focus on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and maintaining the care and treatment of those living with HIV.

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What CDC is Doing in Namibia

HIV is a leading cause of death and a health threat to millions worldwide. As a key implementer of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC works with Namibia to develop and implement an integrated, comprehensive package of HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs.

CDC’s work with the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) includes a focus on building workforce capacity to ensure there are sufficient skilled public health professionals. Additionally, CDC works with MOHSS to strengthen laboratory systems in order to scale up and improve HIV and tuberculosis diagnostics as well as timely viral load testing.

CDC also provides technical assistance to strengthen surveillance and health information systems, to collect and analyze data for improved program decision-making. CDC is working with MOHSS to scale up national antiretroviral treatment programs and improve HIV prevention efforts. These include HIV testing services, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, antiretroviral therapy, post-exposure prophylaxis, and pre-exposure prophylaxis.

CDC provides widespread technical assistance to MOHSS and partners to implement evidence-based care and treatment activities. As Namibia moves towards epidemic control, CDC is increasingly focusing on ensuring that care and treatment options are optimally designed. This ranges from supporting Namibia to offer efficient and effective treatment options for stable patients who do not need intensive support from clinics, to ensuring that patients who have not yet had their treatment options optimized receive the care they need.

CDC is also supporting the broader healthcare needs of HIV positive patients. For example a woman who is HIV positive is five times more likely to develop cervical cancer than a woman who is HIV negative, and CDC is supporting Namibia to ensure that life-saving cervical cancer screening is available to those who need it.

CDC supports comprehensive tuberculosis (TB) and HIV activities in Namibia, including improving and integrating TB and HIV services for co-infected individuals, providing TB preventative therapy for all eligible HIV positive individuals, and supporting TB infection control efforts in healthcare facilities.

CDC also supports TB infection control efforts in healthcare facilities to prevent the spread of infection to healthcare providers. CDC supports the MOHSS to protect health care workers and reduce the spread of TB through trainings and capacity building, particularly around the correct use particulate-filtering respirators.

CDC supports MOHSS to strengthen the health system through workforce capacity building and implementation of innovative community-based antiretroviral treatment  models. CDC supports the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHOTM) platform as an effective means of building expertise in country. Namibia’s Project ECHO, the first of its kind in Africa, is an internet-based platform that connects remote sites to specialists and empowers health care providers with advanced skills to treat patients with complex diagnoses.

CDC also provided support for the Namibia population-based HIV impact assessment (NAMPHIA). Results show that 77% of all HIV-positive adults have achieved viral load suppression, which surpasses the UNAIDS target of 73% viral load suppression by 2020. CDC also provided technical assistance to implement the second integrated bio-behavioral surveillance survey in 2019, a data source that can improve program decision-making.

The Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) receives CDC technical support to provide accurate HIV diagnostics and timely viral load testing. As Namibia continues to work toward reaching the target of 95% of all individuals on antiretroviral treatment maintaining viral load  suppression, a strong lab system and network is critical. CDC works closely with NIP to ensure the quality of all HIV and tuberculosis testing nationally.

CDC Impact in Namibia
  • Supported Namibia to decrease HIV infections from more than 15,000 in 2002 to approximately 4,500 in 2018.
  • Supported Namibia to decrease HIV/AIDS related deaths in 2018 by half from nearly 10,000 deaths in 2002.
  • Supported Namibia to reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets of providing antiretroviral therapy for 90% of those diagnosed and ensuring 90% of those treated achieve viral suppression by 2020.
  • Continuing to provide support to reach the UNAIDS 95-95-95 target for treatment: 95% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 95% of people who know their status on treatment; and 95% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
CDC Staff in Namibia
  • 12 U.S. Assignees
  • 31 Locally Employed
Namibia at a Glance
  • Population: 2,533,794
  • Per capita income: $10,320 (US dollars)
  • Life expectancy at birth: F 65/M 62 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 36/1,000 live births

Sources: World Bank 2018, Namibia
Population Reference Bureau 2018, Namibia

Namibia Top 10 Causes of Death
  1. HIV/AIDS
  2. lschemic heart disease
  3. Lower respiratory infections
  4. Stroke
  5. Tuberculosis
  6. Neonatal disorders
  7. Diarrheal diseases
  8. Diabetes
  9. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  10. Road injuries


Source: GBD Compare 2018, Namibia

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Page last reviewed: January 6, 2020
Content source: Global Health