7 April 2010: BONELA Calls for Access to ARVs for Foreign Inmates and Refugees as World Commemorates Health Day

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) joins the world today in commemorating World Health Day 2010 which will this year focus on urbanization and health. BONELA takes this opportunity to urge the Government of Botswana to honour commitments to achieving universal access by ensuring that the issue of foreign inmates who are languishing in prison and face the prospect of death without access to antiretroviral drugs (ARV) is addressed, and that refugees have access to treatment through the national ARV programme.

The Director of BONELA, Mr. Uyapo Ndadi said that “Our view is that the Government of Botswana is subjecting inmates and refugees to inhumane and degrading treatment, which is contrary to the Constitution of Botswana. In fact, we are at an advanced stage of instituting a case before the courts for redress in a matter involving a foreign prisoner’s access to ARVs”. This echoes sentiments expressed by Lot Moroka, the Southern Regional Magistrate in a keynote address at the recently held BONELA annual general meeting who noted that universal access is applicable to all, and that HIV and AIDS is an extraordinary disease, demanding an extraordinary response.

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