Much has changed in a decade. In 2001, President Festus Mogae of Botswana identified the growing threat of HIV/AIDS as a national crisis and announced that his government would provide free antiretroviral (ARV) therapy to eligible patients. This initiative, at the time without precedent in Africa, posed significant challenges to Botswana’s already overburdened healthcare system, especially in terms of trained medical workers. Few doctors or nurses had experience in HIV/AIDS treatment.
That same year the KITSO AIDS Training Program was established through a collaboration between the Botswana Ministry of Health and the Botswana Harvard Partnership (BHP). Through KITSO training, healthcare professionals in Botswana have gained the expertise and confidence to provide ARV therapy and to train other healthcare workers. KITSO-trained staff now provide ARV therapy at 33 hospital sites and 137 satellite clinics throughout the country. Over 130,000 patients are currently served in the national ARV program.
The program has expanded, adapted, and added new partners. To date, over 8,000 healthcare professionals have been trained in KITSO’s basic course, AIDS Clinical Care Fundamentals. At the ten-year mark, KITSO continues to provide high-quality training to ensure the sustainability of Botswana’s HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs.
KITSO is made possible through support from the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP).