Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) has challenged government to put in place robust systems that will ensure monitoring of quality of care as well as performance of health care providers.
The human rights and health activist organisation was reacting to President Ian Khama’s Monday state of the nation address in which he had alluded to government’s commitment to a high quality health service that is both accessible and affordable for all in a sustainable manner.
BONELA executive director Cindy Kelemi said that her organisation continues to receive cases related to medical malpractice and or negligence as a result of poor adherence to medical standards of good practice and ethics. “These cases are related to wrongful diagnosis, administering and prescription of wrong medications, mishandling of women during child birth resulting in avoidable mortalities,” said Kelemi.
President Khama had said in his address that health services are undergoing a transformation that focuses on the delivery of quality care that is financially sustainable, which incorporates a revitalisation of primary health care as well as increased private sector participation. But BONELA argues that the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic will remain a mirage when sex workers and men who have sex with other men remain excluded. “The HIV prevalence for sex workers is three fold higher than the national prevalence of 18.2 percent.
Therefore, government’s commitment to a rights-based approach to addressing HIV/AIDS among key populations should be reiterated during opportune moments like state of the nation address (SONA),” said Kelemi.
“Let me once more note that while we are firm in our commitment to providing for HIV/AIDS testing and therapy, the ultimate answer to stopping the spread of this terrible virus lies in us exercising self-discipline in our behaviour,” urged President Khama. BONELA on the other hand is convinced that improved enabling policy and legal environment, improved service delivery, improved procurement processes, patient-centred approach to health are essential ingredients to self-efficacy and increased health outcomes.