Botswana turning the tide against HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day 2012
Botswana has seen improvements in the provision high quality Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and good coverage of Preventing Mother-to-child Transmission programmes that have led to elimination risks of having HIV positive newborns.

Botswana has been turning the tide against HIV and AIDS. Several of the country’s health indicators that had deteriorated owing to the effects of HIV and AIDS have been on the rebound. The rate of progress has been slower on life expectancy, maternal mortality and the reduction of the incidence of Tuberculosis. Within HIV and AIDS, while mortality among people living with AIDS has declined the rate of new infections still remains high causing HIV prevalence to stabilise at a high rate. Incidence of HIV in the country has declined by 71% between 2001 and 2011

Highlights

  • Incidence of HIV in the country has declined by 71% between 2001 and 2011
  • It is estimated that about 70% of HIV/AIDS activities are financed through the national budget.
  • Botswana has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world with latest reports estimating it to be around 17.6% for the general population.

The country has witnessed improvements in the provision high quality Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and good coverage of Preventing Mother-to-child Transmission programmes that have led to of elimination risks of having HIV positive newborns.

Through the project implemented by the Government in collaboration with the National HIV and AIDS Coordinating Agency  (NACA) UNDP has been strengthening coordination, planning and management capacity for effective HIV/AIDS and health service delivery in the country. Plans for service acceleration and management have been developed; funding and programming efforts have been harmonized and strengthened as well as the establishment of information management systems as a result of this partnership.

Despite these gains, there is need to adjust policies to improve service access among key affected populations and reducing new infections and prolonging lives. Financing of the HIV and AIDS response into the future poses a major challenge that should be addressed through a comprehensive health sector financing strategy.

It is estimated that about 70% of HIV/AIDS activities are financed through the national budget. However, only 20% is spent on prevention activities with a reduction to 10.5% for the 2012/13 budget and a projected reduction to 8.7% by 2015/16. Efficient use of these continuously dwindling resources will be essential in meeting the HIV/AIDS challenge the country faces.  As the pandemic affects all sectors of society, HIV/AIDS services need to be integrated in all sectoral efforts. There is also need for more effort towards addressing the youth dimension to the pandemic.

Botswana has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world with latest reports estimating it to be around 17.6% for the general population and 24% for 15 years and above age group. 48.9% of women aged 30-34 years while 33.3% of pregnant ones are HIV positive. In the recent State of the Nation Address, Lt. Gen. Seretse khama ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana stated that until the country reaches its target of zero new infections, combating HIV/AIDS will remain a priority.

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