Botswana: Four High Priority Areas for Botswana

Gaborone — Botswana has identified four critical areas where specific action is urgently needed, National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA) coordinator, Mr Richard Matlhare has said.

He told members of the press on March 6 that the four areas were family planning, gender based violence, maternal mortality and disaggregated data.

The briefing follows Botswana's attendance last year of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 25 held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mr Matlhare explained that Botswana was represented at the Nairobi summit by a 24-person delegation including young people, persons living with disability, civil society organisations, senior government officials and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

"The gathering brought together countries to reignite, accelerate and keep the promise made at the landmark International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo 25 years ago," he said.

Mr Matlhare noted that each of more than 170 countries represented at the summit was expected to identify commitments relevant to their contexts out of the 12 identified as key to achieving the ICPD programme of action globally.

"We therefore presented our national commitments on these four key areas," he said.

On family planning, he said government was committed to strengthening access to information and services, including quality, affordable and safe modern contraceptives.

Mr Matlhare said government planned to reduce gender based violence (GBV) from 37 per cent to 20 per cent for women and from 21 per cent to 10 per cent for men by 2030.

The country, he said also aimed to reduce maternal deaths attributable to abortion, post-partum hemorrhage and hypertensive disorder in pregnancy from 143.2/100 000 births to less than 70/100 000.

In addition, he said Botswana planned to provide quality, timely and disaggregated data by expanding population and housing census and inter-censal surveys, integrated statistical monitoring and evaluation systems, civil registration and vital statistics programme.

Mr Matlhare said with less than 10 years before the deadline, the commitments were ambitious, but they were achievable "if we all work together towards their implementation".

What was needed were strategic collaborations and partnerships with all stakeholders, he said.

"I reaffirm Botswana's commitment towards concluding the unfinished business of ICPD programme by 2030 through intensified implementation of the family planning; maternal health; gender and development programmes as well as provision of quality data in the remaining period by the year 2030," he said.

For her part, UNFPA assistant representative, Ms Mareledi Segotso said with over 8 000 participants, the summit brought together a global, multi-stakeholder community that re-energized sexual and reproductive health and rights movement which mobilised the necessary political will to achieve ICPD and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Ms Segotso said the summit demonstrated how the equitable achievement of dignity and human rights, good health, security of place and mobility, good governance and accountability, had tangible positive impacts on people's lives.

"It reinforced that the ICPD programme of action is crucial to guide population and development policies and programmes within the context of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development," she said.

Ms Segotso said the identified areas demanded renewed leadership at all levels and across all sectors of society.

She said UNFPA would establish and provide secretarial support to a high-level commission comprising political leaders, private sector, youth, faith leaders, civil society and philanthropists to monitor progress on the commitments.

The summit, she said, would be remembered as a watershed moment that saved lives; lifted millions of women and girls, their families and communities from exclusion and marginalization; and enabled nations to reap the benefits of a demographic dividend to grow their economies.

"Now we know what needs to be done and have the commitments in place to realize a world of rights and choices for all by the end of the decade," she said.

Ms Michelle Simon, a youth advocate urged her contemporaries to access information to help them make informed decisions.

Ms Lorato Moalusi, Botswana Gender Based Violence Prevention and Support Centre CEO, said commitments by local non-governmental organisations included utilizing social contracts, leading in the response to ending sexual gender-based violence at community level, ensuring robust community engagement and mainstreaming gender equality conversations.

Source : BOPA

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