The San population

Today, the cure rate for TB has risen from 28% to 90%. Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding HIV/AIDS in the region have improved dramatically and AIDS patients are living longer and more active lives with the help of home-based care programs, patient counseling, and the provision of supplementary food.

An Oxfam supported health program in Omaheke, Namibia is heling HIV/AIDS patients live longer and healthier lives. Photo: Lucie Lalanne/OxfamThe Omaheke region of Namibia is largely arid scrub land. Known for its relatively prosperous cattle farms, the income gap between rich (farm owners) and poor (including farm workers) is greater than any other region in the country. Many people living in extreme poverty, including the San population.

The San (white settlers referred to them as Bushmen) work on the commercial farms or have migrated to the squatter communities attached to the only city in the region, Gobabis. They are often exploited, underpaid, or paid in alcohol for their labour. As a result, they are prime candidates for social and health problems.

In the late 1990s, Omaheke was the worst region in the country when it came to the management and control of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS was a growing problem. With support from Oxfam Canada, the Omaheke Health Education Project (OHEP) was formed to improve the quality of health care provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, to provide outreach to people living in rural areas and the squatter settlements through the establishment of small clinics, community health committees and a program of traveling health promoters.

Today, the cure rate for TB has risen from 28% to 90%. Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding HIV/AIDS in the region have improved dramatically and AIDS patients are living longer and more active lives with the help of home-based care programs, patient counseling, and the provision of supplementary food. Antiretroviral drugs (ARVS) have been introduced. increasing Survival rates are increasing and patients can provide for themselves and their families.