French MPs visit Nkoyaphiri Clinic
A visiting French delegation made up of three Members of Parliament, Director of the National Assembly, the Ambassador of France to Botswana, Her Excellency Anne de la Blache, visited ACHAP’s VMMC site at Nkoyaphiri clinic on the 12th of May 2016. The French members of the national assembly who were on a weeklong visit in Botswana visited Nkoyaphiri clinic as part their mission to renew the parliamentary relationships between the two countries 20 years after the last visit of French MPs to Botswana and to explore new field of cooperation in various fields, including health and environment. The delegation that visited the clinic was accompanied by senior staff members of the Botswana national Assembly and Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee of Health and HIV/AIDS Hon. Gilbert Mangole. Mogoditshane locals also graced the occasion starting with the area Member Parliament, Deputy District Commissioner, Kgosi, headmen, representation from the council secretary councillors, VDC and heads of the District Health Management Team. The visit to Nkoyaphiri Clinic was mainly to assess the HIV/AIDS situation in Botswana and to understand utilization of Global Fund grant in the country.
“It is important for the Parliament of France to have a discussion and compare our institutions as a way to elaborate the laws that can open windows of cooperation between the two assemblies”. Said the leader of the delegation Hon. Jean- Marie Tetart, who is also a member of the Botswana-France Friendship Group. “We are visiting your country to see which field of cooperation can be strengthened, one being considered is the field of health particularly HIV/AIDS.” Tetart said.
France is the second highest financial contributor to the Global Fund after the United States. The Global Fund signed two grants with Botswana early in the year represented by the Ambassador of France to Botswana, to support programs dedicated to prevention and treatment of HIV and Tuberculosis. “We are very proud that our Ambassador was able to sign this agreement and this shows that France plays a big role in the Global Fund.” Said honourable Jean-Marie Tetart. The partnership represents a major step in the fight against HIV and Tuberculosis, whose prevalence rates in Botswana remain among the highest in the world. He went on to commend the Government of Botswana for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hon. Tetart concluded by saying that they are willing to have a relationship with Botswana and increase cooperation between the two countries as a way to better the lives of many people between the two countries”.
ACHAP’s Executive Officer, Programmes, Dr Frank Mwangemi gave an overview on his organization’s programmes and briefly explained that ACHAP was established in 2000, a time when Botswana was at the peak of the HIV epidemic, he noted that the then President of Botswana Dr. Festus Mogae approached the Bill and Melinda Gates and Merck Foundation to assist Botswana with resources to fight the HIV epidemic. The two were then able to fund Botswana through ACHAP with $100 million to fight this epidemic. He further said that ACHAP is now working with the Global Fund to implement programmes such as VMMC, TB and HIV. “We appreciate that the French Members of Parliament took time to visit Botswana as a way to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and we hope that in the next round of Global Fund grants, Botswana will have an increased grant allocation to help reduce the of burden of HIV and TB.”