Bots rolls out HIV prevention services at youth games

 

Gaborone Botswana’s National AIDS Co-ordinating Agency (NACA), in collaboration with other stakeholders, will provide HIV prevention services during the upcoming youth games.

“We intend to intensify HIV prevention services during the upcoming African youth games,” NACA Public Relations Officer, Lorato Mongatane.

She said for the duration of the games, condoms will also be distributed among other services, including HIV counselling and testing and condom education. 

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health services will be provided at various venues during the same youth games.

She said sport has proven to be an exceptional platform on which to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS issues and to educate people on how to protect themselves against HIV infection.

She noted that a number of campaigns among the Protect the Goal initiative and condomise campaign will be implemented during and after the games.

“An HIV toolkit, aimed at empowering Africa young stars with information to make informed decisions and to avoid HIV infection, will be distributed to all athletes and spectators,” said Mongatane.  

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Africa Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOG), Tuelo Serufho, told the media recently that the country is ready to welcome top young athletes in Africa.

For his part, Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Shaw Kgathi, said though the decision that Botswana should host the games was announced with less than a year to go, the nation was able to live up to the challenge.

“I’m humbled by the response received from Batswana in heeding the call to contribute towards the games adding that this gave assurance that the goal set by the country of being a ‘united and proud nation’ by 2016 is not a fallacy,” said Kgathi.

According to Kgathi, the theme for the games: ‘Unleashing Africa’s Stars’ was in line with government’s commitment of creating opportunities for young people to flourish and be able to shine and compete globally.

“There are many benefits associated with hosting these games. 

In 2010, we were able to send a team of 17 owing to limited resources but with the games coming to Botswana we are able to field 197 young people, who would otherwise have not made it to these games and as a result missing the opportunity to be discovered,” he said.

More than 2 500 junior athletes and officials are expected to jet into the landlocked Southern Africa nation starting this week for the youth games played in an Olympic format.  Visiting countries have started to arrive in Botswana for the continental showpiece, and Kenya was the first to arrive on May 16, followed by Angola, Tunisia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Ghana, amongst others.

The games will be held from May 22 to 31 with 54 African countries competing in 21 sport codes.

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