Despite strides made in curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS, fears of stigma and the problem of access to healthcare remain gaps Botswana needs to plug in fighting the scourge, says Botswana Country Coordinator-US President Emergency Plans for AIDS Relief, Christopher O’Connell.
He was speaking on Thursday at the launch of the Botswana Review of Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BRELA) journal.
Launched in part to address this gap, the BRELA journal is an initiative of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) in partnership with the United States Embassy in Botswana and the University of Botswana (UB).
O’Connell said organizations like BONELA and scholars should continue their important research and advocacy work. He said the US government, through the Embassy’s Democracy and Human Rights Fund, has contributed financially towards the publication of the third volume of BRELA.
“This edition focuses on areas the US government feels are incredibly important in addressing gender-based violence, stigma, discrimination and social determinants of health,” he said.
O’Connel added that the US Mission has always been part of the community of partners working together to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS in Botswana.
BRELA is an academic journal that seeks to bring to the fore issues of ethics, law culture, economic and political and other parameters as they relate to HIV/AIDS, a prominent human rights issue.
Chief Editor of BRELA, Dr. Sethunya Mosime, said the journal is designed to showcase what BONELA is doing in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“This is a platform for advocacy for the affected people in Botswana who call for support,” said Mosime.
She urged people to support the publication of such journals by reading them, adding that the journal represented BONELA’s strategy of evidence-based advocacy.
Reiterating its importance, BONELA Director, Uyapo Ndadi, said the journal is one of the tools in the war against HIV/AIDS in Botswana. He urged the leadership of the country to continue closing gaps in health services and education.
Ndadi said former President Festus Mogae had opened doors for organizations like BONELA. BONELA has grown into a strong and highly recognized voice in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Botswana.
It is a network of concerned individuals, groups and organizations interested in protecting and promoting the rights of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.