26 March 2013:
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MPs) ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN SAVE US FROM THE PROPOSED PUBLIC HEALTH BILL…..IT IS IN THEIR HAND
We knew that the Public Health Bill will be back in Parliament for further debate. However, we had anticipated that the Ministry of Health would heed calls made by stakeholders such as BONELA, UNAIDS, WHO, SALC, AIDS Alliance, ARASA, Ditshwanelo and other concerned Batswana and make amendments to the bill, particularly on the controversial, offensive and invasive provisions.
To our utter shock, the Ministry of Health intends to make no changes to the bill at all; even with the benefit of information on best practices availed to them. This to us; is a clear case of indifference and a deliberate plan to violate people’s rights.
BONELA and its stakeholders have done all that is possible to raise awareness, especially to the general public who would be affected by this law. It is now up to MPs to propose and vote on the amendments.
If MPs fail or decide not to discharge that constitutional mandate, as concerned stakeholders, we would know that our MPs are happy to see people’s rights being violated-that they are happy to see Batswana being tested for HIV without their consent, happy to give doctors sole mandates on deciding when and what to do with patients without consultations.
We would also know that MPs by failing to do their duty are happy to see litigants in court pleading not to be tested for HIV because their government want them to. Moreover, we would know that our MPs are happy to place responsibilities of sexual matters ONLY on those who are HIV positive by agreeing with forceful disclosure to all potential sexual partners by people living with HIV even if they are using protection.
Lastly, our MPs will be happy to see that whoever seeks dental services is required to do an HIV test before such services are meted.
It is therefore, in the hands of MPs to exercise their power to propose and vote for a sound Public Health bill. It is in your hands……
Uyapo Ndadi (Mr)