May 16, 2017

How a Namibian clinic has destigmatised HIV

Written by Emma Mbekele

This article originally appeared on New Era.

Each day, single mother Elizabeth Kazapua rises at 04h30 and begins her hour-long journey by foot to work at the site of a groundbreaking pilot project at Epako Clinic in Gobabis. Here, she makes sure that those who are very sick, the elderly and pregnant women are treated first.

If not for her uniform, she could easily be mistaken for a nurse. This is because Kazapua goes beyond her duty as a security guard to ensure that patients are safe and they are lined up in an orderly manner.

“I love it here. Every shift I feel motivated,” she says as she directs a young lady to the pharmacy. Some of them she knows by name, particularly those who have chronic conditions.


Epako Clinic is a model site for health service provision – but this wasn’t always so. For years, just like many other health facilities in Namibia, the clinic’s door labels were an indirect source of HIV-related stigma.

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