Monday, September 28, 2020

Be wary of ‘HIV/AIDS Samaritans’

As a country, we have come a long way in our collective fight against the epidemic of HIV/AIDS that, at one time, threatened to annihilate us as a nation.
While we have made strides, the fight is far from over.
Even as we celebrate the successes, which, in light of the almost insurmountable task we had before us, we must at no time forget that the victories we have had were not without casualties and or costs.
The progress we have made has come at costs, especially in enormous sacrifices by way of literally having to defer and, in some cases, totally forgoing some national.
A lot of resources ÔÇô financial and human, have had to be channeled towards fighting the raging HIV/AIDS.
To that effect, we salute the visionary leadership of our government.
President Festus Mogae deserves special mention.
He has pinned his political career on the fight against this scourge, taking enormous risks, including on his own personal career.
Mogae is about to leave the scene, and we can only hope that those he leaves behind, especially the person who will be taking up the presidency, will have enough passion, zeal and energy in issues related to HIV/AIDS to continue with what is effectively a war that is far from over.
It is thanks to Mogae’s dedication and resolute commitment towards mitigating the horrid effects of HIV/AIDS that Botswana’s international cooperating partners have continued on our side even as fatigue crept in other countries.
For that, we should be thankful to the man.
Like we say, HIV/AIDS has consumed a lot of Botswana’s resources. The scourge has taken up a lot of time and derailed what was up until not long ago great example of Africa’s potential to make it like the rest of the world.
Botswana has succeeded in the midst of poverty, plunder, deprivation, squalor and General misery.
Like we say, we owe a lot to our international cooperating partners that we have been able to make it this far.
But it is disheartening to see that some people are now using our plight to enrich themselves.
Some people are using Botswana’s AIDS statistics to raise money for themselves under the guise of helping the affected.
We think that should be put on check.
In every war, generals always pause to review their strategies and, more importantly, to evaluate if those strategies are delivering the perceived results. We think that is just what Botswana needs in its war against HIV/AIDS.
As much as we welcome assistance from outside our borders, we must be very careful not to allow our plight to benefit a few greedy individuals, including those from outside who are descending onto our shores under the guise of coming to our assistance.
The manner with which the statistics of people living with HIV/AIDS are distorted is an example that this disease has become a whole industry for unscrupulous people seeking money to enrich themselves in our name.
A lot of people have descended into Botswana to make not just money from our plight but also to carve and cut themselves careers out of HIV/AIDS.
The United Nations has to be mentioned for being particularly unhelpful in its use of crazy statistics to blow out of context what is essentially a human tragedy.
That should not be allowed. They may be doping it in good faith, but it is not helping the situation.
AIDS statistics have to be centralised and we think NACA is the best place to be the repository of such data.
Having said that we think NACA should find a way to ensure that it is the only official source of such figures.
Figures sourced outside of its authority should be discredited for lack of integrity.
As much as we are in trouble, we still deserve dignity and we should not allow unscrupulous people to utilize our plight as a nation for ulterior ends.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.