The Honourable Prof. Sheila Tlou to open meeting on HIV testing and confidentiality

09 February 2006
The Honourable Prof. Sheila Tlou to open meeting on HIV testing and confidentiality

GABORONE – The Hon. Professor Sheila Tlou, the Minister of Health, will deliver the keynote address at a stakeholders’ meeting that will release the findings of a study on confidentiality with respect to HIV testing in Botswana. The research was conducted jointly by the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) and the Washington, DC-based Policy Project.

The media are invited to attend the event on Thursday, 16 February 2006 at 8:00 a.m. at Big Five Lodge.

It is the first time such a comprehensive study on this critical aspect of the HIV epidemic has been conducted in Botswana.  The study carried out by the two organisations involved interviewing 154 health care workers in a total of 32 facilities in communities around Botswana. Those interviewed included health care auxiliary workers, doctors and administrators in sites ranging from three-room health posts to large hospitals.

“We are very adamant that we will take these findings back into the community to improve confidentiality in Botswana’s health care setting,” said BONELA Director Christine Stegling.

“It’s important for confidentiality to be adhered to at all times to ensure the public’s trust in health care services. This trust is at the core of accessing health programmes.”

The purpose of the meeting will be to develop a plan of action, including training initiatives, policy development and practical solutions to improve confidentiality in the context of HIV testing based on the findings of this research.

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.  The Policy Project is a USAID-funded project based in Washington but with offices and projects around the world examining the impact of policy development.

For more information, please contact Cynthia Lee, BONELA Media Relations Officer at 393-2516.