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U.S gives Botswana $7.5 million to fight HIV

The United States government has applauded Botswana for its recent decision to adopt and implement the new international policy of HIV prevention initiative (Option B+) leading to the U.S pledging $7.5 million through the U.S President Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) to support the initiative.

Option B+ is a program that provides lifelong treatment to HIV positive pregnant women regardless of their CD4 count. The program is reported to be important because lifelong treatment helps prevent infant infections, saves mother’s lives, reduces the numbers of orphans, and is regarded cost- effective.

“I am happy to announce that the U.S government has pledged $7.5 million in funding through PEPFAR to support the government of Botswana’s recent decision to adopt and implement Option B+,” U.S Charge`d’Affaires Michael Murphy said at the recent opening of the New Directions in Global Health seminar held in Maun.

Murphy said his announcement about the U.S government support to government of Botswana’s option B+ program falls in line with the shared vision and goals the two countries have. He quoted President Lt General Ian Khama’s vow before the recent general elections to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV in the next five years.

“This was bold statement, but very important. It happens to be in line with U.S government goals and so we whole heartedly support this initiative of option B+,” said Murphy.

In 2013, a new study was launched in Botswana to determine the best HIV prevention strategies at the community level. The U.S, the Botswana Ministry of Health and Harvard University announced the ongoing four year project called the Botswana Combination Prevention Project, known best in Setswana language as ‘Ya Tsie’. The $64 million project is also funded by PEPFAR.

The study reported to have piloted Option B+ prior to the national rollout, and demonstrate the willingness of HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding women in Botswana to continue anti-retroviral therapy for life when recommended.

Through PEPFAR, the U.S government has launched a new effort called ‘New Direction in Global Health’, a series of road show seminars that brings public health experts together with district stakeholders outside Gaborone and Botswana media to exchange information on the research, best practices and successes in the response to HIV and other global health concerns in Botswana.

It is also aimed at persuading key policy makers at the district level to increase their commitment and coordination in the response to HIV and other global health issues.

The seminars are held in partnership with the District Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committees and the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA Botswana).

The U.S government through PEPFAR has committed more than $700 million (nearly 6 billion Pula), mainly to support Botswana’s HIV/AIDS responses.

Working in partnership, Botswana and the U.S have witnessed new HIV infections in Botswana dropping by 71 percent since 2001, with also mother to child transmission rate dropping from a peak of around 40 percent to nearly two (2) percent. It is also stated that Botswana’s provision of free anti-retroviral treatment to its citizens has become a model for the rest of the world.

However, it is revealed that every single day in Botswana, 45 people are infected with HIV, reflecting about 16 000 of new infections every year. Internationally, it is reported that for the past 35 years, the HIV epidemic has spread across the globe and claimed around 40 million lives, with every week 24 000 lives being lost due to this epidemic.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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