Africa Botswana Cooperation Diplomacy Health

US extends bilateral health funding to Botswana

The US government has extended cooperative agreements amounting to over P280 M between the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Botswana University of Maryland School of Medicine Health Initiative (BUMMHI) and Botswana Training and Education Center for Health (B-TECH).

The funding was announced by US Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Craig Cloud in Gaborone on November 6.

Mr Cloud said the money would assist the programmes developed by the three entities.

He said the US embassy was determined to achieving the goal of AIDS–free generation in Botswana and that the knowledge imparted on the locals through such initiatives would remain behind.

“I am very elated that the generosity of United States to Botswana has saved lives of many Batswana,” he stated.

He said the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) had made a great difference in Botswana regarding HIV/AIDS.

Mr Cloud said money would support Botswana’s efforts of achieving AIDS-free generation.

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The money would among other things finance screening and treatment of tuberculosis patients living with HIV, treatment of cervical cancer and ensure that young women and adolescents girls were AIDS-free.

He said the money donated would also support the programmes such as Safe Male Circumcision (SMC), pre-exposure prophylaxes programme, improve laboratory systems and strengthening of data systems.

Mr Cloud further congratulated BUMMHI, a partner in the fight against HIV/AIDS adding that their wealth of experience and knowledge would go a long way in empowering government HIV and TB clinics and other HIV partners in the country.

He also congratulated B-TECH, a lead partner in cervical cancer screening and treatment among women living with HIV.

He said the US embassy was also looking forward to Botswana AIDS indicator survey data in order to attack the pandemic.

“We need it so that we can see as to where to focus,” he stated.

When receiving the donation, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti thanked the US government for the gesture.

He said the USA health partnership with Botswana was a proud legacy that came to the fore during the darkest period of the HIV pandemic.

Dr Dikoloti noted that some of the programmes that the USA government assisted Botswana with, such as the Tebelopele testing centres, roll out of Masa ARV and PMTCT programmes, SMC and recent extension of ARV treatment to non-citizens.

He said the cooperative agreements would assist in capacity building for the recipients in delivering sustainable health systems.

Further, he noted that COVID-19 has imparted valuable lessons in preparing the public health system for future challenges.

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Representatives of BUMMHI and B-TECH appreciated bilateral health funding by US government.

Executive Director of B-TECH, Dr Odirile Bakae said his organisation has been operational in the country for the last 17 years under PEPFAR funds.

He said some of the achievements of his organisation included identifying cases of people living with HIV and linking them with systems of care and treatment.

He said his organisation was currently engaging in support of health informatics system with ministry of health.

“This is something which is exciting because initially we were not benefiting from the funds directly from PEPFAR funds, but now we will be directly funded,” he stated. Meanwhile BUMMHI Director, Dr Ndwapi Ndwapi said the cooperative agreements continued to play a role in financial and technical viability of BUMMHI and other NGOs.

He said his organisation was a key implementing partner for the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) technical assistance to the ministry for the last five years.

Key among the achievements of the organisation, he said was the implementation of fast track anti-retroviral therapy initiation for all those newly diagnosed with HIV in Botswana.

He said the programmes offered by CDC and PEPFAR have resulted in much greater lives to those living with HIV.

Source: Daily News Botswana

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