Gaborone - 14 June 2019: The President of Botswana, His Excellency President Dr Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi, committed his government to delivering on the promise of the National Multi-sectoral Strategy on NCDs. Speaking at the launch of the national multi-sectoral NCD strategy along with the third generation Strategic framework on HIV/AIDS, President Masisi intimated that the launch was a clarion call to all stakeholders and the nation to work together to rid the country of the dual epidemics of NCDs and HIV. He said as these are the two biggest public health problems ever to afflict Botswana, he took the bold step of combining the preventive aspects of NCDs with HIV/AIDS and bringing them under the Office of the President to enhance coordination and ensure a broader reach.
Earlier, the WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, addressed the gathering through a video message. He congratulated His Excellency the President and people of Botswana for placing NCDs at the centre of health and development, noting that success lay in a primary health care approach that ensures universal coverage and multi-sectoral collaboration. He acknowledged the services of the former President of Botswana, His Excellency Festus Mogae, in the WHO High Level Commission on NCDs and assured the country of continued WHO support.
The Guest Speaker, UNAIDS acting Executive Director, Ms Gunilla Carlsson, unraveled the intricate connection between HIV/AIDS and NCDs, intimating that addressing the one impacts on the other. She said that HIV/AIDS triggered or exacerbated some NCDs and vise versa. She appreciated the double launch as it will engender joint programming resulting in better health outcomes.
For his part, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele, assured the nation that his ministry will use the strategy to guide and work with partners, stakeholders and communities. He said that the strategy has a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that will enable performance management as well as framing and reframing of interventions.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Honourable Nonofo Molefhi, expressed appreciation of the opportunity to work together with the Ministry of Health and Wellness on these complex public health problems with complex implications for the country.
Among those who attended the launch were His Honour the Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, The Parliamentary Committee on Health, Mayors, Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic missions, UN Regional Coordinator and Heads of UN Agencies, Chief Executives of the Private Sector organisations, Senior government officials, the media, Civil society organizations and some members of society.