Engaging the Private Sector to Offer Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision in Namibia
- Namibia lacks the public clinics needed to expand access to voluntary medical male circumcision
- Abt Associates, through two projects, engaged the private health sector to provide this service
- The Khomas region, for example, 81 percent of the 8,846 VMMCs performed between October 2016 and September 2017 were in private sector facilities
As a part of its HIV prevention strategy, Namibia has a goal of reaching 330,000 men and boys with voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), a proven technique to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. However, the country’s public health sector is overburdened. The Khomas region – which contains the country’s capital – has a target of 47,000 but only has one public clinic that performs the procedure.
Abt Associates addressed this challenge by expanding access to VMMC through the private health sector. With 42 percent of Namibia’s health providers practicing in the private sector, the private sector has an important role to play in achieving national HIV prevention targets, but often it is underutilized. As a first step, as part of the USAID-funded Strengthening Outcomes through the Private Sector project, the team in Namibia got insurance providers to cover VMMC as a preventive benefit. That led to the introduction of a subsidy under the USAID-funded AIDSFree project to cover the uninsured.
The strategy has paid off. From November 2014 to September 2017, the private sector reported 20,948 VMMCs in Namibia ― 19 percent of national the total for that period. In 2017, AIDSFree added a subsidy program to cover the procedure for uninsured men. Working in the region where it was most needed, Khomas, the team’s efforts resulted in 8,846 VMMCs between October 2016 and September 2017. Of those, 81 percent happened in private sector facilities.