Tears on the Jewel
Botswana's AIDS crisis is out of control
With 38% of its population HIV positive, Botswana is facing a human and economic disaster.
“We have lost our cousins, brothers and sisters throughout this country because of AIDS,” comments Kesogo, mother of five and HIV positive. The government knows that tackling the problem head-on is the only way to avoid seeing its workforce simply fade away. It is launching one of Africa’s bravest campaigns – to postpone the onset of disease by introducing free antiretroviral drug therapy. Funding for this campaign comes from its diamond mines. However, the UN’s blood diamond campaign threatens to undermine this, by highlighting the pivotal role diamonds play in financing African wars. “If the impression is that diamonds contribute to war in Africa, it will bring our effort to fight AIDS to a standstill, because we need revenue from diamonds,” comments Jacob Sesiny from Debswana Diamond Company. But if the international community fails to provide a solution to the rapidly growing problem of AIDS in Africa, what choice does Botswana’s government have?FULL SYNOPSIS