On Monday 6th February, the Minister of Finance, Honorable Peggy Serame delivered the 2023 Budget Speech.
- In her annotations, she alludes that, ‘The second largest share of 17.1 percent of the proposed Ministerial Recurrent Budget, amounting to ten billion, three hundred and ten million Pula (P10.31 billion), is allocated to the Ministry of Health. The amount represents a growth of 3 percent over the current year’s approved budget of ten billion and ten million Pula (P10.01 billion). The recommended budget will enable the Ministry to provide sustainable preventative, curative and rehabilitative health services to the nation. The proposed budgetary provision also caters for personal emoluments, drugs, medical specialists’ fees, utilities and health care supplies. In addition, the provision also caters for Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic including mitigation of the risks of new infections and the spread or resurgence of the disease in line with the objective of saving Batswana from COVID-19. The proposed funds will also cover procurement of drugs and operationalization of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital to full capacity.’
- The above Ministerial budget proposal for the Ministry of Health is welcome, however it lacks governments commitment to prioritize health and the right to health as one of the key National Priorities and Strategic Objectives for 2023-2024 and beyond. BONELA calls on government to prioritize making the Right to Health a Reality in Botswana as it is the epitome of sustainable human development outcomes such as productivity, prosperity and accountability just to name a few. The COVID-19 Pandemic has shown us that we have weak and fragmented health systems that are unable to respond to health needs of Batswana such as availability of life saving medicines, infrastructure (Health Posts/Clinics & Hospitals); accessibility& affordability of health services and last but not least quality health care. Therefore, it’s imperative that government recognizes this and take deliberate efforts to support the achievement of resilient sustainable systems for health that include conscious decisions to invest in supply chain management of health commodities and services; community led monitoring, governance and accountability and strategic information management.
- An amount of one billion and ten million pula (P1.01 billion) or 4.81 percent has been allocated to the Ministry for State President. Hon. Serame stated that HIV/AIDS Prevention Activities shall be funded for under this provision.
- In addition to this, BONELA wishes to highlight to government the need to make significant investments in the implementation of the Strategy on Removing Human Rights & Gender Related Barriers to HIV/ AIDS AND TB Services in Botswana by 2025. The strategy is aligned to the International Guidelines on HIV, AIDS and Human Rights, that recognizes that;
“[p]ublic health interests do not conflict with human rights. On the contrary, it has been recognized that when human rights are protected, fewer people become infected and those living with HIV and their families can better cope with HIV and AIDS.” Failure to protect the rights of people living with HIV and vulnerable and key populations may increase the spread of HIV and worsen the harmful impact in communities and countries. When the human rights of people living with HIV and vulnerable and key populations are respected, protected, and fulfilled on paper and in practice, this facilitates universal access to prevention and treatment, reduces stigma and discrimination, and creates an environment which promotes access to health facilities and other HIV-related public services”.
The allowances paid under various social welfare programmes have been reviewed stating that the Disability Allowance will be increased effective April 2023.Increment of welfare allowances for PWD’s is also a welcome development however there is need for government to ensure the domestication of the CRPD into law to ensure PWDs and other key stakeholders can hold government accountable in as far as claiming and fulfilment of their rights. The proposed budget does not adequately address the needs of PWDs comprehensively as thus its tokenistic and lacks the principle of empathy.
For more information, contact BONELA on:
Katlego Sechele at email@example.com or 72282025
Cindy Kelemi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 72385054