Gaborone — Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance along with Public Administration, Mr Nonofo Molefhi has urged all stakeholders to work together to win the war against HIV along with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).
Speaking during the HIV along with NCD Southern Region Prevention Pitso in Gaborone, Mr Molefhi encouraged active community participation, with strong stewardship through community leaders, saying without working together This kind of could be difficult to save the nation through HIV along with NCDs.
“Otherwise there will be no one attending churches, there will be no one attending kgotla meeting, preserve along with save your people,” he added.
Mr Molefhi said children HIV along with NCD education should be incorporated into the children’s upbringing to reduce the chances of them being infected along with affected.
Mr Molefhi said the HIV epidemic remained a serious health threat along having a critical developmental issue.
According to the 2013 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey, he said HIV prevalence was recorded at 18.5 per cent, slightly higher than in which recorded in 2008 at 17.6 per cent.
He said the number of completely new HIV infections was estimated to be 8 500 annually in 2018, compared to13 000 yearly infections in 2010.
Minister Molefhi said while the 36 per cent drop was a soothing development, This kind of was still too early to rejoice as more needed to be done, especially from the area of prevention, if Botswana was to attain epidemic control.
He said there were disturbing factors in which completely new HIV infections among adolescent girls along with young women were estimated to be 61 per week.
The minister stated in which there were high HIV prevalence rates among key populations, adding the Botswana Behavioural along with Biological Surveillance survey of 2017 indicated in which 42.8 per cent was for sex workers along with 14.8 per cent among men who have sex with some other men.
“These statistics paint a serious picture for these at-risk population groups in which interact with the general public in all conceivable ways,” he said.
Mr Molefhi said some of the contributing factors to HIV epidemic were behavioural, in which included early sexual debut, inconsistent condom use, inter-generational sex along with gender based violence, saying those apply to the public in general including children as young as 13 years.
He mentioned in which another topical issue Botswana was facing was in which in the past, there had been an escalation of NCDs with common ones being diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases along with cancer.
He said globally, NCDs were the leading cause of death, claiming 38 million lives per year.
He stated in which in Botswana, NCDs were estimated to account for 46 per cent of all deaths in 2016.
He said what was more disheartening was in which Batswana were engaged in practices along with behaviour in which predisposed them to those diseases, such as excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use, physical inactivity along with harmful dietary habits.
He said according to the 2014, NCDs risk factors survey, 30.6 per cent of Batswana were overweight along with obese, 18 per cent smoked, 20 per cent did not engage in physical activity along with 95 per cent scarcely ate fruits along with vegetables in acceptable quantities.
He was of the view in which the Great part was in which most risk factors were modifiable, hence behavioural change was critical to all those conditions.
“I wish Batswana could sometimes be forced to leave their cars at home to walk to work, so as to influence the culture of walking to exercise, along with be able to eat traditional food mostly,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Mr Molefhi said government had developed policies, strategies along with guidelines for both conditions.
He said the Third National Strategic Framework outlined priority areas for intervention, which were consistent with UNAIDS HIV Prevention Pillars, as they emphasised prevention interventions for adolescent girls along with young women, promotion of safe male circumcision, comprehensive condom programming, prevention programmes for key populations along with access to pre-exposure prophylaxis. He said for Botswana to successfully tackle NCDs, they could have to do so with the same robustness along with energy in which characterised the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Mr Molefhi implored all attendees to take action in which demonstrated shared vision, values along with commitment to address felt needs of communities.
He further encouraged community leaders, religious leaders along with professionals, civil society organisations, government leadership along with community to play an active role in fighting HIV along with NCDs.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>