Su­per­model Naomi Camp­bell jets in

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Keiso Mohloboli

INT ER NA­TION­ALLY-AC­CLAIMED British su­per­model, Naomi Camp­bell is ex­pected in Le­sotho for the launch of the HIV and Health Sit­u­a­tion Room in Maseru, the Sun­day Ex­press can re­veal.

Ms Camp­bell will be part of a high-pow­ered UNAIDS del­e­ga­tion that in­cludes the UNAIDS Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Michel Sidibe and Cather­ine Sozi, the Di­rec­tor of the UNAIDS Re­gional Sup­port Team for Eastern and South­ern Africa.

The HIV and Health Sit­u­a­tion Room is a health in­for­ma­tion sys­tem that will en­able the Min­istry of Health to know the sta­tis­tics of peo­ple tested for HIV, TB and other dis­eases around the coun­try. The in­for­ma­tion sys­tem will help cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture and un­der­stand­ing of Le­sotho’s epi­demics.

It was de­vel­oped by the Min­istry of Health in col­lab­o­ra­tion with UNAIDS and it is sup­ported by the gov­ern­ment of Swe­den, which con­trib­uted re­sources as part of its con­tin­ued sup­port to im­prov­ing mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of the global AIDS epi­demic.

Highly placed sources who spoke to Sun­day Ex­press on con­di­tion of anonymity yes­ter­day said Ms Camp­bell will ar­rive in Le­sotho to­day.

“It has been con­firmed that Naomi Camp­bell will jet into the coun­try (to­day) as part of the UNAIDS ex­ec­u­tive del­e­ga­tion for the launch of the first ever HIV Room in Le­sotho,” the source said.

The source said the sit­u­a­tion room will be launched at the Min­istry of Health Head­quar­ters.

The sit­u­a­tion room will con­tin­u­ously up­date and present HIV re­pro­duc­tion, ma­ter­nal and neo-natal and child health in­for­ma­tion in Le­sotho.

Ac­cord­ing to the source, there will be sev­eral com­pli­men­tary ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing a tour of Queen El­iz­a­beth II Hospi­tal.

The Tues­day launch will be graced by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane and UNAIDS Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Michel Sidibe.

In ad­di­tion to her mod­el­ling ca­reer, Ms Camp­bell has em­barked on other ven­tures, which in­clude mu­sic and sev­eral act­ing ap­pear­ances in film and tele­vi­sion.

She is also in­volved in char­ity work for var­i­ous causes.

She will be part of the launch of the Min­istry of Health’s sit­u­a­tion room which was con­ceived as part of the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to fast track­ing the HIV re­sponse among chil­dren, ado­les­cents and young peo­ple.

The source ex­plained that the sit­u­a­tion room will specif­i­cally pro­vide up to date in­for­ma­tion for the pri­ori­ti­sa­tion, plan­ning, de­ci­sion mak­ing and ac­count­abil­ity at coun­try level.

The sit­u­a­tion room, the source said, would utilise ex­ist­ing data to present se­lected in­di­ca­tors from di­verse data sources in a sin­gle in­terac- tive and dy­namic plat­form.

The plat­form will also be used to mon­i­tor progress to­wards achiev­ing the Le­sotho AIDS Strate­gic Frame­work goals. It will also be used to mon­i­tor and map the sit­u­a­tion of HIV re­lated com­modi­ties in the coun­try and avail easy data for de­ci­sion mak­ing for the gov­ern­ment, part­ners and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the global in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion on HIV and AIDS, Le­sotho is one of the coun­tries hard­est hit by HIV, with the sec­ond high­est HIV preva­lence after eSwa­tini. HIV preva­lence was 25 per­cent in 2016 and has been around this level since 2005.

An es­ti­mated 330 000 peo­ple were liv­ing with HIV in Le­sotho and 9 900 died from AIDS-re­lated ill­nesses in 2016.

How­ever, over­all HIV in­ci­dence as de­clined from 30 000 new in­fec­tions in 2005 to 21 000 in 2016.

Le­sotho’s main mode of HIV trans­mis­sion is through het­ero­sex­ual sex, ac­count­ing for 80 per­cent of new in­fec­tions in 2014.

In 2016, 72 per­cent of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV in Le­sotho were aware of their sta­tus while 53 per­cent of all those liv­ing with HIV were on treat­ment.

Data on the per­cent­age of peo­ple on treat­ment who are vi­rally sup­pressed has not been re­ported. Stigma re­mains a bar­rier to HIV test­ing and treat­ment, par­tic­u­larly among men and peo­ple from key pop­u­la­tions.

BRITISH su­per­model Naomi Camp­bell.

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