Second Training for Parliamentarians, 2012
On 12 and 14 November 2012 some 28 Botswana parliamentarians, including five ministers, attended a training workshop in Gaborone on evidence-based decision-making. The training, over two mornings, focused on how to reduce the 1.5% HIV annual incidence in Botswana, translating into some 14,000 new cases each year.
Prof Neil Andersson of CIET drew attention to the type of evidence needed for effective planning of HIV prevention efforts, such as the Number Needed to Treat and the cost per case saved, allowing valid comparisons between different interventions. He stressed the importance of not making decisions based on “quick thinking”, but rather obtaining the necessary evidence on impact, coverage, and costs, from randomised controlled trials and other research. The participants developed suggestions for what interventions might help to tackle the nearly stagnant 1.5% incidence in Botswana, based on evidence of which people are particularly at risk, and their own knowledge of Botswana culture and communities.
The two training sessions on evidence-based decision making, in November 2011 and November 2012, have now reached 36 of the 61 members of the Botswana parliament, including seven ministers. The Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, has provided leadership for this activity, this year also supported by the new Assistant Minister, Dr Gloria Somolekae. The National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) organised the workshops and in 2012 led sessions on the features of the epidemic in Botswana and current HIV prevention programmes. The chairperson of the parliamentary committee on health and HIV and AIDS, Hon Slumber Tsogwane, closing the workshop on 14 November 2012, noted that parliamentarians need to support and allocate effective resources for programmes that work: “We need to ask the right questions, don’t we!”