A fifth of Francistown population on ARVs
BY SHINGIRAI MADONDO
At least a fifth of Francistown’s population, estimated at just above 100 thousand people, have been successfully enrolled on Anti-Retroviral Therapy, Francistown City Council mayor Sylvia Muzila said last Monday.
Muzila made this revelation when addressing a full council session which ends this Friday.
“Currently, we have 22 000 people who are under the Anti-Retroviral Treatment in the city,” revealed Muzila, adding that Francistown has the highest number of people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Latest figures in relation to HIV prevalence contained in the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS) IV of 2013, show Selibe-Phikwe leading the pack followed by Francistown and the resort township of Kasane in the Chobe region.
However, Muzila is of the belief that Francistown is the worst affected area by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, because people are not forthcoming when it comes to testing.
“As a city, we have the highest figures in terms of the number of people infected. Statistically, Selibe-Phikwe is said to be leading the pack simply because most of the people here in Francistown are not aware of their HIV status. They, (Phikwe), are testing for the virus,” she said.
Muzila said cities and urban centres are often the centre of, or linked with, the spread of the endemic disease because of their high population density – a development that calls for more efforts to be employed in the fight against the pandemic.
“We launched the 90-90-90 HIV/AIDS kick out campaign and managed to reach closed to 4 500 residents where it was discovered that at least 10 percent of the people have never tested for HIV in their lives,” said Muzila, adding that more effort in testing for HIV is needed.
“In that regard, we need to mainstream HIV/AIDS activities across the departments and coordinating prevention and response activities,” said the mayor, who has been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic.
Although a lot has been done with the regard to addressing the endemic HIV/AIDS, Muzila lamented that very little has been achieved on dealing with the ailment that was first detected in the country some four decades ago.