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Health and social services for vulnerable children, adolescents, and youth in Namibia are expected to improve through the five-year Reach Namibia Programme of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The programme will invest about N$840 million in the provision of these services.

PEPFAR focuses on expanding access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care interventions.

The US government has been working with Namibia in its quest to combat HIV by identifying people with HIV, ensuring that they start and remain on treatment, and caring for vulnerable children affected by the virus.

A new five-year Reach Namibia Programme funded by PEPFAR will see two local organisations, Project Hope Namibia and Intrahealth, implement the N$840 million initiative to reach vulnerable children and youth with health services and keep them AIDS-free.

The programme, which operates in the Khomas, Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Kavango West, and East regions, will be managed by the United States Agency for International Development.

"Reach Namibia operates in eight regions where 80% of the population resides. The children and youth who are made vulnerable by HIV in these regions will experience improved access to health and social services to prevent them from contracting HIV and to stay AIDS-free," said Tamara Cox, deputy principal at PEPFAR.

Namibia is well on track to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, as 92% of individuals with HIV know their status.

However, there are concerns about inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, which threaten Namibia's ability to effectively control HIV and become AIDS-free.

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Celma Ndhikwa