Already 59 CSOs in Botswana are being supported through a World Bank loan, of which P157.5 million has been disbursed to those organisations.Deputy National Coordinator, Fraser Tlhoiwa, said the programme targets community members at the local level. He said it addresses socio-cultural and behavioural issues like multiple and concurrent partnerships, intergenerational and transactional sex, low male circumcision as well as inconsistent condom use.
He appealed to members of the community to make use of those organisations to achieve intended outcomes and expressed the need for the funds allocated to be used appropriately.Speaking during the Tsosoloso HIV testing campaign in Selebi-Phikwe on Thursday, Tlhoiwa said the programme targets community members at the local level."Through the support of our development partners, efforts are ongoing to strengthen and support our CSOs to refocus and reposition their efforts in the national response to HIV," he said.He added that they have developed a National Operational Plan for HIV/AIDS, which has been designed to take them through to 2016.He was also happy that NACA, with the support of the ministries of health and local government and rural development, has been able to conduct some joint training and planning with all the 30 districts to harmonise and align district targets to the national ones as part of this operational plan.
"One of our response's milestone is the completion of the revised National Policy on HIV/AIDS which will be tabled during the current July/August 2013 session of parliament for adoption," he added. Tlhoiwa further said the revision of the policy was a lengthy consultative process, which also
involved the National AIDS Council, Ntlo ya kgosi and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health HIV and AIDS.As part of its efforts to improve on its programmes, NACA recently conducted a National HIV Prevention PITSO with the aim to solicit views from stakeholders, implementing partners and the wider community.
This was on how the race towards HIV prevention can be finished towards 2016. The outcome of the event will be put in place to sharpen and consolidate NACA's commitment to halting the spread of new infections."Despite the challenges influencing the spread of HIV infection, I am grateful that since the introduction of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, about 96 percent of children born to HIV positive mothers are born negative. Botswana has since joined the world community to eliminate new infections among children through a programme called eMTCT (Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission)" he added.
Tlhoiwa expressed concern that despite all interventions, there was a serious decline of people testing for HIV/AIDS but said NACA was working hard to revive testing.For his part, the Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofho Molefhi said HIV/AIDS is not only a health issue but also a social and economic one.He urged people to be pro-active towards achieving intended outcomes from the interventions in place. He said though there have been improvements made towards addressing the spread of the disease, it is not yet satisfactory. "Over P1 billion that has been allocated towards fighting the disease is money that could have been used for other developments," he said.