Gaborone — The Global Fund has approved and awarded Botswana the TB/HIV and Malaria grants.
Botswana was invited by the Global Fund to apply for a pre-allocated amount of U$D 28.7 million, following transition from the old rounds-based system to the new funding model.
However, the Global Fund has approved funding to the tune of U$D 32, 172, 960, which is in excess of the original allocation, while it was increased in line with the country's needs.
Of the approved total grant, U$D 5,128,153 has been allocated to the Malaria programme while U$D 27,043,807 is to cover a combined TB/HIV effort.
The overall goals of the grants will be to achieve zero local Malaria transmission or the elimination of Malaria, to prevent new HIV infections, reduce morbidity and mortality as well as to enhance the psychosocial and economic impact associated with TB.
Speaking at the grant signing ceremony, Minister of Health, Ms Dorcus Makgatho said Botswana has made significant strides in responding to HIV and Aids as well as TB.
"As one of the few countries hardest hit by the epidemic, the country is now aiming at achieving epidemic control of HIV by 2020 and ending AIDS by 2030. This should be possible with vertical HIV transmission having been reduced from 40 percent without intervention to less than 3 % today," she said.
Furthermore, the minister said steps towards elimination of mother to child transmission have already been commenced, adding that Botswana was also readying itself for test and treat strategy to ensure universal Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) coverage and sustained treatment.
She however noted that TB was the main cause of mortality among the HIV infected while the country still has a high TB notification rate of over 300/100,000 with a TB/HIV co-infection rate of over 60 %.
Meanwhile, Ms Makgatho said even though Botswana made commendable progress in achieving the said health outcomes, there were some gaps and challenges that needed to be addressed noting that partners such as Global Fund therefore proved to be of high importance in the assistance they provided.
Head of Grant Management at Global Fund, Mr Mark Edington said the signing of the two new grants marked the beginning of a new phase of implementation and renewed engagement between the Global Fund and Botswana.
He said through the grants, tens of thousands of people will benefit from free access to prevention, care and treatment, giving them an opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.