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Jan 30, 2012
Political Will Makes a Difference in AIDS Battle
AUTHOR:PLUS NEWSSOURCE:PLUS NEWS
No region has been hit harder by the AIDS epidemic than Sub-Saharan Africa. While most countries have been slow to address the growing need for treatment and preventative measures, the nation of Botswana has been increasingly active in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 1999, the government of Botswana formed the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), which rolled out the first PMTCT services in Africa. Debswana, a mining company run jointly by De Beers and the Botswana government, began to provide ARVs and PMTCT services to its employees; a first for any company. Bulk purchasing of HIV drugs and the training of medical professionals allows the government to provide free treatment.
As a result of these programs, 80% of those who are HIV positive receive ARVs (up from 7% in 2003), male circumcisions are free and available, condoms are more affordable due to tax exemptions, and 90% of HIV-positive pregnant women receive PMTCT services.
Life for Mothers (LfM) applauds the efforts of Botswana in combating the HIV epidemic. LfM recognizes that political will is required to strengthen health systems. The linkage of HIV/AIDS with maternal/reproductive health is central to LfM’s holistic strategy to reduce maternal/neonatal deaths and eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. Partnering with Ugandan government stakeholders will enable LfM to implement Phase ll of its Pilot Project leading to strengthened health systems and saved lives. Click here to read the article: http://www.plusnews.org/report.aspx?Reportid=94671