Bots men join war against HIV/AIDS
Gaborone – Batswana men are reportedly showing interest in the Peer male/Peer mother project which is a support for the Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT and indications are that the programme has been warmly received across the country. The project District Supervisor Oratile Seloka said the project has been running in health facilities in major villages such as Selibe Phikwe, Masunga, Tutume, Bobonong,Mahalapye, Lobatse, and Ramotswa. With the introduction of the project, Seloka said, most men now understand they also have a role to play and most importantly there is a reduced stigma. She said in each one of the facilities there is a peer male to strengthen the male component of the project which is to advocate for male involvement and support of PMTC services in the community. Seloka said through open forums and visits to various areas per males educate men in the community to learn about PMTC services in the community; access to ARVs for babies and how to support mothers. “They also provide information about counselling for couples, HIV prevention, Sexual Transmitted Diseases, male circumcision, family planning and health care.” Another major objective of the project, she said, is to ensure that mothers suffering from depression have the best possible access to PMCT services. These, she said include safe infant feeding practices and key referral services. “Since we started the programme, we have recorded a great response especially in increased numbers of women enrolled in PMCT and improved practices such as milk preparation,” she said. Seloka said the project was aimed at supporting PMTC that was increasingly becoming stretched for resources. “In this, counselling could delegate certain services to their peers. The 12 peers, six males, and six females are stationed at the selected health facilities where most mothers are attended to.” The project started last November and it is co-sponsored by the Academic for Education Development in partnership with Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP).