Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome Remarks by Hon. Lesego Ethel Motsumi at the Launch of the Second National Strategic Framework For HIV & AIDS (NSFII) and the NACA Website

source: Republic of Botswana (28/2/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 3 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
“Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery”

B4) 17/2/10: Welcome Remarks by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Hon. Lesego Ethel Motsumi at the Launch of the Second National Strategic Framework For HIV & AIDS (NSFII) and the NACA Website

[Salutations]…Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

1. Good evening! Today marks yet another milestone in Botswana’s fight against HIV and AIDS, as we launch its Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS for the period 2010-2016, or NSF II as we popularly refer to it, and the NACA website.

2. The new framework signals a new generation in public policy on HIV and AIDS, one that will take us further towards collectively addressing the key challenges of the epidemic well into the future. Aligned to the country’s Vision 2016, and the tenth National Development Plan (NDP10), NSFII will serve as the country’s roadmap for all stakeholders; that is be they national, regional or international. Such alignment to NDP 10 should be understood in the context of HIV and AIDS being treated as both a health and a developmental challenge and not just a health one.

3. This framework defines the nation’s priority intervention areas. It is our rallying call for partners in the national response to align their efforts towards attainment of our ultimate goal - Zero New Infections by 2016. Leveraging on the experience accrued from the implementation of the first NSF, four priority intervention areas that will serve to focus and sharpen our response have emerged. This prioritization signals an important step in meeting the challenges of the epidemic through focussing resources and efforts in areas that are likely to yield maximum impact.

4. The process undertaken to arrive at these nationally agreed priority areas, is an example of how partnerships can mobilise national consensus on the key agenda for the response. And here it is important to reiterate our consensus, that prevention is our priority – that prevention is the first among equals. This is critical, particularly, in this era of scarce resources and unsustainably high infection rates. I, therefore, look forward to the implementation and evaluation of this framework.

5. Director of ceremony, we are all privy to the adage that knowledge is power, but knowledge must first be available, accessible and of quality. It is in this regard, that I am proud tonight that we are also launching the NACA website. Like all modern communication tools of today, we expect the website to be a reliable vehicle for communicating the national response to both the local and international communities. In today’s world, websites are the face of organizations and thus we intend to use the site to brand, not only NACA, but also the national response, as guided by NSF II. I therefore encourage you to visit the site each time you open your computer. You will not be disappointed.

6. As I conclude my remarks, let me now take this moment to personally welcome a true friend of Botswana, the UNAIDS Executive Director, who is also the United Nations Under Secretary General, Mr Michel Sidibe. He is our guest of honour tonight. Sir, it is indeed an honour for us as a country to have you here to launch our roadmap for the next seven years. This launch will be remembered by all for a long time to come. This is history. We should all appreciate that the organisation that you head brings together the efforts and resources of all UN organisations under one joint programme - UNAIDS. My choice to have you launch this framework on behalf of all partners is therefore not accidental; it is strategic.

7. Sir, your presence here tonight epitomises the role of UNAIDS in support of our humble efforts in this fight. Indeed, I recall your predecessor, Peter Piot, visiting this country in 2003, and we can only be grateful that UNAIDS continues to appreciate that we are worthy their attention from time to time. Your presence especially during these difficult times of the global recession is appreciated.

8. Last but not least; I welcome all our partners tonight to this memorable event. I am proud that what we are launching is your product as partners. This is a product that speaks volumes on the functionality and the strength of our partnership. This is yet another sign of our solidarity, dedication and common purpose across the national response. Your selfless sacrifice to this cause cannot be underestimated. This is a partnership that must be nurtured to grow from strength to strength.

9. It is not my intention to speak longer than our Guest speaker, but as I conclude let me take this opportunity to thank and bid farewell to Mr Molomo, who will be retiring from Public Service at the end of this month. He joined Botswana Public Service some 32 years ago, but took the reins at NACA in October 2004 as its second National Coordinator. During his nearly five and half years at the helm of the National Response, Chris (as you affectionately call him) steered the ship, though sometimes the most turbulent times, when our people were perishing and the rise in new infections was not abating. As he retires, I believe he can look back with pride to the achievements we have made through his leadership. On behalf of Government, our valued partners and the people of Botswana, we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavours and hope that he will continue to provide his sterling guidance as and when he is called to do so.

10. I therefore warmly welcome all of us to this magnificent event – your evening. Please relax and enjoy. PULA!

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