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Botswana child monitor: A bulletin of recent events, statistics and acquisitions about children

UNICEF

September – October 2005

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  1. The World Information Technology Forum 2005 (WITFOR) took place in Gaborone from August 30 to 2 September 2005. During the conference, the UN system prepared a presentation and display on DevInfo/CRIS, which are corporate UN databases that facilitate monitoring of progress against core global and HIV/AIDS indicators, many of which are directly relevant to the situation of children in Botswana.


  2. 17 September 2005 was a Fun Day for Children Visually Challenged at Pudulogo Resource Center for Blind Children. The fun day was organised by a concerned group of Christian women from Gaborone and facilitated by the Salvation Army Psychosocial Support Initiative (SAPSSI).


  3. Ministers of Education from 13 Southern African countries, including Botswana, met in Ezulwini, Swaziland on 15 September 2005 at a Ministers’ Forum, to deliberate on “care and support” for children, in view of the growing threats to the future of children in the region. The delegates committed themselves to take the necessary measures to strengthen the region’s education systems, to make schools and alternative learning centres viable as both centres of learning and the primary channels through which essential services are provided for children. Two young people from the Girls Education Movement in Botswana participated in the meeting.


  4. A three day conference entitled “Towards Zero New HIV Infections” took place in Francistown on 20-22 September 2005, during which many issues related to prevention of HIV in children and adolescents were discussed. The conference participants recommitted themselves to accelerate efforts, increase funding for prevention efforts, and place more attention to prevention amongst adolescents.


  5. The Botswana Red Cross Society held its Annual General Meeting on 23 September 2005. The patron of the Society, the First Lady Mrs Barbara Mogae called on all partners to join forces to more effectively address, issues relating to children, particularly orphans and those in very vulnerable situations.


  6. The Department of Social Services held a gathering to mark the month of prayer on 28 September 2005. The prayer was meant to remember those who have died of AIDS, orphans whose parents have died, children and elderly people who are giving care as well as those who are infected.


  7. Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), in collaboration with the National AIDS Council, held a meeting on 28 September 2005 to brief all key stakeholders on the legislative review report of all laws, policies and regulations that have a bearing on HIV/AIDS in Botswana. The process will be used as input into a comprehensive national legislation on HIV/AIDS.


  8. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr Venor Münoz visited Botswana from 26 September – 4 October 2005, at the invitation of the Botswana government. The purpose of the visit was to consider how Botswana implements the right to education, and to review measures being taken to ensure successful realisation of that right as well as obstacles encountered at the national and community levels. The Special Rapporteur met with senior officials from the Ministries of Education, Local Government, Finance and Development Planning as well as Labour and Home Affairs and visited several urban and rural sites. While he was delighted at the progress achieved by the country in terms of integrated early childhood development and Education for All, he was nonetheless concerned with the Government’s decision to re-introduce school fees at secondary school level.


  9. The Ministry of Health, with the financial support of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and a range of faith-based and private sector organizations, launched a nationwide Measles and Vitamin A Immunization Campaign from 3-7 October 2005. The vaccination took place at all health facilities and other designated points around the country, targeting 180,000 children. The campaign, although planned since 2004, provided an opportunity to respond to an outbreak of measles during the months of July and August.


  10. The 2nd Africa Union (AU) Health Ministers Meeting was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 10 - 14 October 2005. The meeting, among other things, reviewed progress made by the member states on major commitments on health and development over the past decade such as plans of action on malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, the draft framework on Reproductive Health and the revised Nutrition Strategy for Africa. The meeting came up with a joint statement called the Gaborone Declaration in which they re-affirmed their commitment to the development of Sustainable Access to Prevention, Treatment and Care for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and committed themselves to achieve Universal Access to Treatment and Care by 2015, through the development of an integrated health care delivery system.


  11. The Executive Director of UNFPA, Ms Thoraya Obaid launched the 2005 State of the World’s Population Report on 18 October 2005, during her two day visit to Botswana. The report focuses on gender equity, reproductive health and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The report argues that empowering women and girls propels countries forward towards the MDGs and improves the lives of all. Because the burden of poor reproductive health falls heavily on women and their families, reproductive health cannot be separated from the wider goal of gender equality.


  12. The Global Campaign on Children and AIDS, “UNITE FOR CHILDREN, UNITE AGAINST AIDS” in which Botswana will be participating, was launched in New York on 25 October 2005 by UNICEF, UNAIDS and many other partners. A Botswana video entitled “Saving A Generation” was used by Botswana Television and broadcasters around the world to highlight the issue of pediatric HIV infections. The campaign seeks to build partnerships and mobilize action and resources for children over the next five years based on four “Ps”: Prevention of mother to child transmission, Providing pediatric treatment, Preventing infections in adolescents and young people, and Protecting and supporting children who are affected by AIDS. See www.unicef.org/uniteforchildren. The campaign will be launched in Botswana in the coming months.


  13. UNICEF donated a vehicle to the Preschool Division of the Ministry of Education on 28 October 2005 to help in the monitoring and supervision of IECD activities throughout the country. The vehicle was received by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Festina Bakwena from UNICEF Representative, Gordon Jonathan Lewis.


  14. The Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organisations, Botswana Council of Churches and other partners held a health fair on 28 October 2005 at the Main Mall in Gaborone to encourage partnerships in working on issues relating to human health, development and children’s issues. During the fair, members of the public donated blood and underwent tests for various diseases.


  15. The World Health Organisation, in collaboration with FIFA, launched a cartoon book on 29 October 2005 entitled HIV/AIDS – Human Rights. The cartoon book uses football to disseminate messages on HIV/AIDS and highlights the importance of imparting sports skills and health issues to children and young people.




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