Botswana: Mayors Pledge Commitment to 90-90-90 Campaign

Francistown — Six mayors of two cities and four towns of Botswana have reiterated their commitment to the 90-90-90 campaign towards realisation of an AIDS free Botswana.

This was said by National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) coordinator, Mr Richard Matlhare during the campaign launch in Francistown recently.

Mr Matlhare said that the Mayors 90-90-90 campaign was formally launched in 2014 through the Paris Declaration where cities across the world joined efforts to end AIDS as a public health problem by 2030.

"All Mayors globally have a role in addressing amongst other matters the issue of HIV/AIDS to fast track the 90-90-90 target", he said.

Mr Matlhare further said the 90-90-90 target was that at least 90 per cent of all people living with HIV should be knowing their status, 90 per cent of all people infected should be receiving antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy should have the viral load suppressed.

He added that the campaign was also meant to support the presidents' roadmap plan of citizens who knew their statuses and were able to have control over their health and well being.

Speaking on behalf of other mayors, Gaborone City Mayor, Mr Kagiso Thutlwe declared their commitment towards the 90-90-90 campaign.

Mr Thutlwe said that they would relentlessly push for social transformation whereby citizens test, initiate and adhere to treatment towards ending the AIDS epidemic.

Amongst other efforts, he added that the Mayors would foster an environment that respected human rights and free of stigma and discrimination.

"We shall address the needs of the most vulnerable groups and encourage community involvement in matters affecting their health, including but not limited to addressing HIV and Non communicable diseases," Mr Thutlwe said.

Reviewing the campaigns' previous performances, Francistown Deputy Mayor Mr Godisang Radisigo said some of the challenges they faced were issues of lack of resources to reach all communities.

However, Mr Radisigo said within the six-month accelerated campaign, they would continue with door to door testing, adding that in partnership with leaders and other stakeholders, they aimed to reach out to every target group.

Greater Gaborone District Health Management Team (DHMT) Chief Health Officer, Ms Josephine Mosimanewakgosi said to mitigate stigma, different districts would introduce integration of services in clinics.

She said stigma and discrimination was one of the reasons why people living with HIV were defaulting on treatment.

Sowa Town Mayor, Mr George Maphane advised Batswana to take responsibility of each others' health and well being, adding that people should have a positive attitude towards their own health to avoid defaulting.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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