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Botswana Government To Shoulder All Inmates' HIV Treatment Needs

The government of Botswana has been ordered by the High Court to pay for the necessary treatment of prisoners that are afflicted with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

Last Friday, Justice Bengbame Sechele made a ruling that it is a violation of human rights to deny foreigner inmates of anti-retroviral treatment for their HIV.

Two prisoners from Zimbabwe, Mbuso Piye, and Dickson Tapela had sued the Botswana government for denying them free anti-retroviral treatment, while prisoners who are Botswana citizens received the same treatment for free.

The Right to Life

Furthermore, they said the government had refused them to their right to life and afflicted them with inequality, discrimination, and degrading and inhuman treatment.

The judge said that the government's move to exclude the two Zimbabwean prisoners from the free HIV treatment was an invalid and irrational one.

Policy changes

Health groups and organizations in Botswana have expressed their support for the two prisoners, and they challenged their government to do some changes on their policies so as not to violate any prisoner's right to dignity, non-discrimination, and equality.

The government of Botswana had claimed that it did not have enough funds to pay for the HIV treatment prisoners who are non-Botswana citizens, but the judge rejected it.

The judge's ruling has been welcomed by various health groups in the nation.

The Importance Of Raising HIV Awareness