Gender Based Violence (GBV) has been identified as one of the main factors leading to some patients defaulting from the antiretroviral treatment in Ngamiland.
This surfaced during the launch of the month of Prayer Against HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), GBV and road traffic crashes held in Maun over the weekend. The launch which gathered different churches at the main Kgotla was held under the theme “A prayerful youth: Gateway to a healthy lifestyle” Deuteronomy 30:19-20.
Addressing the gathering, Ngami DHMT’s Clinical Nurse Mentor, Clever Banyenyengwa revealed that there are cases in which acts of GBV result in patients defaulting from HIV treatment as they fail to refill their medication or even attend checkups for other conditions.
“Sometimes it is not only abuse by a partner but it could also be by any other family member who abuse and stigmatise the patient,” he added
To mitigate the problem, the nurse revealed that they have since formed committees of focal persons in clinics which focuses on issues of GBV and come up with solutions that would assist those who have defaulted due to violence.
He added that they have also come up with new HIV/AIDS testing initiatives as many of the youth do not go for regular testing. According to him, only 85% of the youth goes for testing unlike the elders who 95% of them are regularly tested for the virus. “Most people prefer home testing as it accords them some privacy,” he revealed.
Banyenyengwa further adviced those who are on medication to go for regular checkups for diseases like cervical cancer, high blood pressure and renal infections as they are highly prevalent in the Ngamiland region.
Meanwhile Sub Inspector Segopolo Lefatshe of the Gender and Child Protection Unit under Maun Police has also expressed concerned about the high cases of GBV in their policing area. He revealed that from January to June this year, they have registered 2 cases of murder, threat to kill 7, assault 117, unlawful wounding 7, defilement 34 and rape 59.
The month of prayer is a faith-based initiative led by the Christian community providing a forum for the society to take charge and stand in addressing HIV and AIDS and other diseases that have been a cause for concern in the country.
The prayer session is held every September and is led by the Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP).
Traditionally, the nationwide initiative has focused on HIV/AIDS, however with advent of Covid -19, the prayers then focused on most of the diseases and viruses that are a major concern. The closing session will be held on the 8th October at the Maun Main Kgotla.