5 October 2012:
BONELA CALLS FOR MINISTER OF HEALTH- Rev. Dr SEAKGOSING TO RESIGN
BONELA learnt with utter great shock that life-saving drugs; antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are not available to those who need them most in health facilities country wide.
- The Botswana’s national antiretroviral treatment program, known as the MASA program, has received international acclaim for being one of the first successful programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, with the increase in drug stock-outs and the simultaneous drug disposal by the Ministry of Health Central Medical Stores (CMS) department, raises great concerns related to the effectiveness of the national antiretroviral program. The uncertainty around treatment accessibility, its quality and overall effectiveness is creating public distress, especially among people living with HIV.
- Not only does this situation of drugs unavailability show inefficiency on the part of Ministry of Health but it is a clear indication that Minister Seakgosing does not care about his constituency; that lack of antiretroviral drugs in health facilities will result in non-adherence, drug resistance and death.
- Minister Seakgosing and his technocrats have proven over and over again that they can misuse tax payer’s money in running the Ministry of Health, robes the nation millions of Pula in wasted drugs.
- Reacting to this; the BONELA Director said “we are shocked that there is a short supply of antiretroviral drugs. Clearly this is a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Does it make sense to burn P21 million worth of drugs and a month later experience a serious crisis of short supply? Someone must take responsibility and that should be the Minister. He must GO now!!’ He went on to say that ‘ Our health is our treasure and we should jealously guard against throwing it out of the window by addressing this situation immediately as many people’s lives hang on the antiretroviral drugs’.
- The BONELA Director further said ‘I have repeatedly said that there is lack of political will and commitment to HIV treatment, care and support. This crisis bears testimony to my assertion. I don’t think this is as a result of money but of bad management in procurement. I dread the day the central government took health care from local government without capacity and adequate preparation. Our clinics were doing just fine. Is central government able to perform to expectations in taking health care services to the people? The answer is No!’
BONELA, therefore, appeal to the Ministry of Health to normalize this situation immediately because the consequences for lack of continued access to ARV treatment are catastrophic. Given the high rate of HIV-infected Batswana, such a catastrophe will impact every aspect of society, ranging from those directly affected, to their family and friends to the market-economies that depend on the health and survival of its human resources.Finally, we call on the Reverend Minister Seakgosing to do the right thing and resign from his ministerial position because he has failed repeatedly Batswana.