19 April 2017

Botswana: Tshireletso Meets UNAIDS Delegation

Gaborone — The introduction of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme has reduced by 96 per cent the number of children born by HIV positive mothers who are HIV negative.

Briefing UNAIDS officials, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso said since the introduction of ARVs there was a significant reduction of AIDS related deaths, and that the drugs had prolonged the life of people living with HIV/AIDS.

She said by December 2012, 20 298 people were receiving ARVs against the 205 676 eligible patients, adding that the introduction of ARV's had also reduced the number of home based care patients.

She, however, said despite the achievements in the fight against HIV and AIDS, they were yet to make adequate progress in reaching out to the most vulnerable populations.

The minister noted that the recent Most at Risk Population (MARPS) study, which was conducted by Research Triangle International (RTI), showed that HIV prevalence among sex workers was at 61.9 per cent.

She said the situation called for urgent intervention to ensure that they reach out to all the population groups and provide them with prevention, treatment and care services.

"It is my sincere hope that at the end of this interaction we would have learned from each other's efforts and best practices of bringing HIV into the overall primary health care framework," said Ms Tshireletso, adding that with recent efforts of transferring the ownership and leadership of the health and development of communities to traditional leaders, she was confident of success.

For his part, the global champion for UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment target chairperson, Mr Marc Angel said 90-90-90 was launched in 2014, and that they had been following what countries were doing to fight HIV and AIDS.

He noted that Botswana was one of the countries that started early in taking HIV and AIDS head on, adding that the country started HIV and PMTCT treatment early.

"Now Botswana is reaping the fruits of their effort and the results are there for all to see," said Mr Angel, adding that he was impressed that Botswana has responsible leaders and that everybody takes responsibility.

Mr Angel said Botswana could be used as a benchmarking country, not only in Africa, but in other continents. BOPA

Source : BOPA

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