World Population Day – Protecting the most vulnerable

JULY 13, 2015 12:07 AM| no comments

World Population Day 2015 focuses on Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, particularly women and adolescents who are susceptible to issues affecting health, safety and dignity.

In emergencies situations such as natural disasters or disease epidemics, these vulnerable populations can be exposed to:

– Limited access to sexual and reproductive healthcare

– Infectious diseases

– Sexual and gender based violence

– Reduced access to maternal medicine

Due to social status of women in many parts of the world, some young girls and women find it difficult to negotiate condom use, exposing them to unplanned pregnancies or infectious diseases such as HIV.

In 1999, Botswana declared HIV a national emergency with a significant number of the population infected with the infectious disease. The formation of ACHAP – African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships shortly followed, which supports different sectors in Botswana such as government, NGO’s and private organizations to address to increasing prevalence of the disease.

Since it was inaugurated, ACHAP run specific campaigns to tackle the epidemic, including ‘Prevention for Women’ which empowers women to practice safe and healthy sex.

In 2011, it was reported that over 300,000 adults in Botswana are living with HIV.  This highlights there is still a need for improved health systems and capacity building for countries such as Botswana, which are vulnerable to emergency and disasters to be able to respond more effectively in these situations before they escalate.

A Trans-Atlantic initiative- Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP) Telemedicine and Health Informatics Capacity Building Program, utilizes technological innovations to provide better access and delivery of healthcare in Botswana including into remote communities.

A new phase of the BUP program ‘TV white spaces’ was announced earlier this year in partnership with Microsoft, launching their first pilot ‘Project Kgolagano’ that specializes in maternal medicine for rural communities. Through Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, other programs have now been implemented in Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Ghana.

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