More children living with HIV need access to paediatric care

06 July 2006
More children living with HIV need access to paediatric care

GABORONE – The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) would like to clarify the statistics presented in a press release issued on 27 June 2006 on the matter above.

In the previous press release, BONELA stated, “There is an alarming prevalence of HIV/AIDS in children. According to UNAIDS/WHO, 14,000 children are living with the virus in Botswana. But only about 1,500 are on treatment, says a spokesperson for Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence.”

For the record, it should be stated that this figure—1,500—refers to those on treatment only at Botswana-Baylor. According to MASA, the national ARV programme, the total number of children on ARV therapy in Botswana is estimated at 5,407 as of April 2006.

BONELA has issued this clarification because, in our view, accurate information about HIV/AIDS is a crucial component of the fight against the epidemic. BONELA apologises for any inconvenience caused by this unintentional oversight. Please find attached a corrected version of the original press release for your reference.

The original press release centred on a 5 July seminar on Children, HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, hosted by BONELA. Based on the input of stakeholders and presenters at the seminar, BONELA continues to maintain that access to specialised treatment and care for children must be made a reality.

Among the findings and recommendations from the seminar are:

  • the need to review the National AIDS Policy to make special provisions for children since they are a vulnerable sector of the population;
  • the need to promote community and organizational outreach for children living with disabilities, especially visually- and hearing-impaired children to enhance their access services and HIV/AIDS information; and,
  • the need to reach out to caregivers and enhance the level of care for children, including those living with disabilities.

BONELA is a Gaborone-based non-governmental organisation working on the ethical, legal and human rights dimensions of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Botswana. BONELA is involved in research, training, advocacy, legal assistance and public education.

For further information, please contact Cynthia Lee, BONELA Media and Advocacy Officer, at 393-2516.