The Francistown community recently converged at Galo shopping mall to learn more about the work and the mission of Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AID (BONELA), who had been joined on this journey by the Francistown District Multi-sectoral AIDS Committee (DMSAC).
The event commenced with a mobilization march from Tatitown Police Station and ended with a ceremony at Galo mall. In his welcome remarks, the city mayor Councilor Shadreck Nyeku said the event was a continuation of Botswana to mobilize all stakeholders to understand the importance of human rights in ensuring a holistic response to HIV and AIDS. “The event we are gathered here for today seeks to highlight the dire need for recognition of human rights in our response to HIV and AIDS and recruit more cadres. There is need for collective effort to address stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS which continues to hamper access to prevention and treatment especially by marginalized communities,’’ said Nyeku. For his part the Director of BONELA Uyapo Ndadi said his organization was striving to be a leading human rights organization in the response to HIV/AIDS. “Our niche is to shine the human rights light in response to HIV, that we do in many ways such as advocacy and education.”
Ndadi said human rights and public health approaches should be mutually reinforced if long lasting and sustainable successes are to be achieved. “We need to ask ourselves this question: ‘if Botswana has well celebrated treatment programmes, why do we remain the hub of HIV and AIDS in the world?’ The answer is that we have gaps in our response. We need to identify these gaps and plug them,’’ he said.
He also noted that the world is moving towards universality and human rights for all irrespective of status or sexual orientation and thus urged Botswana to follow suit,Lamented Ndadi.