The July 1 front-page story "Botswana's Gains Against AIDS Put U.S. Claims to Test" mischaracterized the partnership between Botswana and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It also did not reflect the nature of successful partnerships between countries in the fight against HIV-AIDS.
Africans must lead the fight against HIV in their own countries. The U.S. plan supports their national strategies. It would be paternalistic and bad development practice for an international partner to parachute into a country and begin treating its people without regard for that country's needs.
Botswana has used its own resources to lead a successful treatment program. Consultations with the government made it clear that the appropriate role for the U.S. plan was to support the national laboratory and training and quality assurance systems.
The United States reported the nature of its partnership in Botswana and the number of people whose treatment benefits from that partnership. Botswana agrees with that report.
Focusing on alleged squabbles about who should take credit for progress on AIDS in Botswana badly misses the mark. What matters is that the United States supports Botswana in ways that Botswana identifies as important to saving its citizens' lives.
SHEILA DINOTSHE TLOU
Minister of Health
Republic of Botswana
RANDALL L. TOBIAS
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator