The Chairman of the National Aids Council, former President Festus Mogae, has called for more innovative and cost effective ways of tackling HIV-Aids. Addressing the National Aids Council last week, Mogae said Botswana’s response to HIV-Aids is a costly exercise that is felt more today because the world is recovering from the global economic meltdown.
“While urging you to seek effective strategies that should deliver our beloved nation from the stranglehold of HIV-Aids, let me remind you that our response to the epidemic remains a very costly undertaking,” said Mogae.
He said HIV-Aids comes with a huge opportunity cost in the form of shelved development projects such as clinics, schools, water, roads, rural electrification.
“Never before have we ever been called upon to tighten our belts than we are today. More than ever before, we need to ask ourselves whether activities funded under our national HIV-Aids programme will make any difference at all. We need to show Batswana that every thebe spent on HIV-Aids is bearing fruit. We simply need to achieve more with less,” he said.
In 2009, Botswana was not successful in its application for funds to the Global Fund Round 9. However, Mogae said this year, Botswana will be submitting yet another proposal to the Global Fund for the 10th Round of funding.
“This should be viewed as part of our efforts and resolve in resource mobilization for the national HIV-Aids response. I call upon you all to provide the necessary support to the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) in the development of a technically sound proposal that will be successful this time around,” he said.
Mogae challenged senior officials to fully participate in contributing to the proposal, instead of delegating junior officers who cannot make decisions.
“This is the time for all our structures to rally behind this exercise and sacrifice time and resources to ensure timely submission of a winning proposal,” he said.
In the past, President Ian Khama called on Batswana to change their behaviour and desist from alcohol abuse and having multiple concurrent sexual partners, saying the free provision of anti- retrovirals is a costly exercise that is not sustainable in the long run.