It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to welcome you to our beautiful country, on behalf of the Government of Botswana, on my behalf as the acting Minister of Health, and on behalf of the health staff, not only in Francistown, but throughout Botswana.
We appreciate the decision of the World Health Organization to have chosen to hold this important meeting in our country. We are very proud to host this meeting.
Like all other nations, we too are very concerned about the global pandemic of AIDS, which is spreading very fast. We hope and pray that a cure for this disease will be discovered soon.
Botswana, with the assistance of WHO, formulated a Medium-Term Plan for the prevention and control of AIDS. This was followed by a resource mobilization meeting at which multilateral and bilateral agencies made generous pledges to support our government, both financially and technically, to prevent and control AIDS in Botswana. This support has facilitated the implementation of the Medium-Term Plan. We are very grateful to the donor community and to WHO for having made it possible for our AIDS control programme to take off.
As I mentioned earlier, we are anxiously waiting for the day when the discovery of a cure will be announced. In this direction we appreciate the efforts of WHO to convene a consultative meeting on AIDS and traditional medicine. Who knows, perhaps the cure for AIDS is still hidden in traditional medicine.
While wishing you very fruitful discussions, we hope you will be able to discover areas of interest in Botswana during the meeting. Better still, some of you may prefer to stay on for a few days after the meeting. Alternatively, you may choose to come back at a later date and visit our country. Whatever you decide, you will always be welcome.
Finally, let me wish you the best of success in your deliberations. We wish you all a pleasant stay in Botswana and a safe journey home.