AIDS has contributed to child deaths in Botswana by 58 percent a UNICEF official has said

The UNICEF Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Mareledi Segotso, said at a media briefing that the remaining 42 percent of deaths among children are caused by preventable diseases such as respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malaria in endemic sub-districts.

The briefing was held at the United Nations Place in Gaborone.

Segotso said only 12 percent of children and 3.4 percent of pregnant women sleep under insecticide treated nets.

She said two percent (8 660) of households are headed by children. By 2001, about 15 percent of children had lost at least one parent and that one in three households with children was caring for at least one orphan. Female-headed households took in 68 percent of orphans.

Segotso said access to basic social services was impressive in Botswana. However, access to services by the poor is inadequate. Protection of children and women from violence, abuse and exploitation was still weak.

Segotso noted that UNICEF has a two-year country programme that contributes to the achievement of Botswana’s NDP 9 in areas affecting the survival, development, protection of children and women directly or indirectly.

UNICEF hopes to reduce morbidity and mortality, reduce disparities in access to and use of services and assure participation of all groups in decisions that affect their own well-being and enhance the protective environment for children and women.

At the same briefing, UNICEF Botswana’s representative Barbara Reynolds said children require special protection from adults. Reynolds said the media could prevent diseases before they became outbreaks.

The media could educate the public by emphasising the need to wash hands with water and soap to eliminate disease.

“If you say it often enough, people will start doing it often enough,” she said.


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