23 October 2009:
BONELA and Boteti Sub-Disctrict to hold TB/HIV Awareness Raising March
The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) in partnership with the District Health Team for Boteti Sub-District invites, health service providers, people living with HIV and AIDS, the media, civil society organizations and other concerned individuals to an awareness-raising march on tuberculosis (TB) on Friday the 30th of October 2009 in Letlhakane, Boteti.
BONELA has since 2008 embarked on a TB campaign to address several emerging and pertinent issues particularly addressing its efforts towards mitigating the impact of TB on people living with HIV. Tuberculosis poses one of the greatest risks to people living with HIV and AIDS. Although preventable and curable in most cases, it is the biggest killer of people living with HIV and AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, up to 50% of people living with HIV will develop TB, and without proper treatment, approximately 90% of them will die within months. It is clear that the fight against AIDS will not be won without also fighting TB-a reality the HIV community has known for over two decades.
The TB campaign falls under BONELA’s Treatment Literacy programme. Treatment literacy is a model that empowers communities with comprehensive knowledge on issues around HIV/AIDS. This model turns ordinary people into informed advocates for health, enabling them to support the scale-up of treatment in communities and to hold governments and policy makers accountable for the delivery of quality health services.
Speaking on behalf of the DHT, Dr. Retta-Ayela, the Public Health Specialist said Boteti Sub-district is happy to partner with BONELA on the TB Campaign. Speaking in a telephone interview he said: “Boteti is one of the districts in Botswana most affected by HIV, hence the equally high incidence of TB, including multi-drug resistant TB. Prior to the partnership with BONELA, the relationship with support groups was not very strong but it has now been strengthened to ensure a collaborative outreach to communities.”
Boteti sub-district has a relatively high incidence rate of TB but low cure and treatment success rates. There is therefore need to strengthen efforts towards addressing TB in Boteti, particularly adherence and ensuring patients complete their treatment According to BONELA Treatment Literacy Coordinator, Ms. Cindy Kelemi, “there is need for all stakeholders, including community members to encourage all HIV positive people to screen for TB to ensure early detection and timely initiation on treatment.”
The march will be held in conjunction with networks of people living with HIV and AIDS, HIV and AIDS activists, other Civil Society Organisations and interested individuals. It will commence from Motsumi CJSS at 6am to Carnival Furnishers at Letlhakane Mall.