Botswana / global policy: Tlou chairs Global Task Force on Women and AIDS
University of Botswana Lecturer and Former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Dinotshe Tlou, has been asked by several international organisations to use her expertise and experience to assist with health problems at global level.
These have been mostly in the area of HIV and AIDS in which her long term accomplishments are widely recognised. She is the Chairperson of a Global Task Force on Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV/AIDS whose mandate is to develop an operational plan to strengthen strategic guidance and support and to assist countries to ensure that national HIV and development strategies, operational plans, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and associated budgets address the needs and rights of women and girls in the context of HIV and AIDS.
Prof Tlou led this task force because as Minister of Health of Botswana, she led HIV/AIDS interventions that resulted in a near-universal roll out of ARV’s which reached women, children and young people. Maternal mortality due to HIV/AIDS reduced from 38% in 2004 to about 9% in 2008, and Mother to child transmission of HIV reduced from 40% to less than 4% within 4 years, a result that has not been accomplished anywhere in Africa or the developing world. Members of the task force include current and former ministers of Health or Gender Affairs, ambassadors, United Nations regional representatives, and civil society leaders of organisations of women living with HIV/AIDS. She co-chairs the task force with the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibe.
Prof Tlou is also Chairperson of the Global Health Council’s International Conference, which will take place in June 2010 in Washington DC, USA. The conference will assess global progress in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She co-chairs the conference with former Executive Director of UNAIDS, Dr Peter Piot. She recently chaired the Local Organising Committee of the 9th International AIDS Impact Conference which was held in Gaborone with participants from 38 countries.
Every day, in many homes, women are beaten and abused. Far too many die. Violence against women is not only widespread-it is often fatal. Although the most common form of violence against women is domestic violence, women and girls face abuse and violence at every stage of their life. Violence against women is an extreme manifestation of gender inequality and human rights violation. It is a global problem, deeply ingrained in societies and has serious impacts on women's health and well-being.
HIV-infected women who start antiretroviral treatment during pregnancy have similar or better immunological outcomes in the first two and a half years on treatment as non-pregnant women as well as men in the MTCT-Plus Initiative covering seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Thailand from 2003-2006 reported Patricia Toro and colleagues in the journal AIDS. The authors also noted lower mortality rates as well as high retention in care for all patients starting antiretroviral treatment when compared to other multi-site studies in similar settings. These findings lend further support to the