The Minister of Health and Wellness (MoH&W) Dr Alfred Madigele has commended Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence (COE) for its fight against paediatric TB, HIV/AIDS.
Speaking at the Official Launch of the Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) in Gaborone, Dr Madigele said Botswana-Baylor COE makes African history with the official launch of first class genomics research, the largest study of its kind in Africa. He also said Botswana would be remembered by leading the continent into the new era genomic and precision medicine.
“Even 10 years ago, many would not have believed this was possible. This is a momentous occasion that will go down in the annals of history as one of the major milestones in the advancement of medical care in Botswana. It is fitting that such a day is also a day to celebrate 16 years of successful treatment of children born with HIV in Botswana,” he said.
Madigele further explained that the COE works closely with his Ministry in among others providing unsurpassed, comprehensive care, treatment, psycho-social support, training of health care professionals and carrying out clinical research. He added that Botswana-Children’s Clinical COE had truly been a centre of excellence, known world over as a premier treatment for HIV infected children.
He stated that Baylor earned a number of international awards therefore putting the country on the spotlight as a leader in innovative ways of TB and HIV management in children. He added that currently, over 2,400 children and adults are cared for at the COE with 90% being children. He said another 2,500 were in care in sites supported by the clinic.
“It is impressive that mortality rates dropped from about five percent to current levels less than one percent. These success rates are comparable if not better than first world HIV clinics.
Since then, eight more COEs have been opened in other similarly affected countries in Africa using the same public private partnership model. The centre has also embarked on fighting paediatric cancers and it is in the process of designing and constructing a state of art centre on the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital Campus,” he added.
For his part, the Professor of Clinical Paediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine Gabriel Anabwani explained that most children get infected with HIV before or when they are born.
He further stated that some of the children develop HIV symptoms after three months of birth adding that if they are infected before birth, most of them die before they are one year old if they are not given treatment.