With the United States of America aiming to end HIV/AIDS by 2030, Botswana has a lot to offer in terms of management and innovation against the scourge. As such, the US can, while offering assistance, also learn something innovative from Botswana.
This emerged during the Administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Mr Tom Engels’ visit to the University of Botswana on March 9, 2020.
HRSA is the primary federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for improving access to health care for people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable.
As the Administrator, Mr Engels oversees the execution of HRSA’s $11.7 billion annual budget (FY 2019) that is used to expand access to quality health care through an array of grants to state and local governments, health care providers and health professions training programs.
During his visit to the University of Botswana, Mr Engels was taken on a tour of some of the facilities at the Faculty of Health Sciences where he was shown the anatomage, video conferencing facilities and laboratories used for clinical stimulation, molecular research and medical sciences.
He said he was grateful for U.S. government to have been allowed to work with the University of Botswana and in particular the government of Botswana in a number of areas such as healthcare delivery.
Mr Engels noted that his visit here was an eye opener as they also learnt something and they would have something to take back home particularly as the U.S. strives to end the HIV/AIDS scourge by 2030.
Earlier on the Vice Chancellor, Professor Norris, had briefed Mr Engels about the University of Botswana and the significant role it had played in the human capital development of Botswana.
Professor Norris underscored the importance of the University of Botswana becoming responsive to the social needs of Batswana hence the need to have partnerships with international institutions such as HRSA. He appreciated HRSA for the instrumental role it played in the training and delivery of integrated health system in Botswana.
Presenting on HRSA supported UB programmes, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Professor Oathokwa Nkomazana, said the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grant was a catalyst to strengthening medical education in that it helped in the training of more doctors.
Speaking on the Afya Bora Consortium Fellowship, Professor Esther Seloilwe from the School of Nursing said the programme helped them to equip a number of doctors with leadership and management skills. Professor Seloilwe said the programme started 2011 as a pilot programme with 22 fellows and to date they have graduated 125 fellows.
She was also grateful that the programme had expanded to include other public health specialists.
Reagrding the BSc MLS Programme, Professor Ishmael Kasvosve said it was a tripartite between the University of Botswana, Ministry of Health and Wellness and University of Washington. Through the programme they were now training laboratory scientists up to degree level. They have also added more undergraduate programmes.