.- The Roman Catholic Church in Francistown has started a program to offer assistance to previously untreated refugees in Botswana. The church has been able to treat a limited number of refugees, diagnosed with AIDS, with anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy, reported the Botswana Press Agency.
Bishop Frank Nubuasah said in an interview that the refugees were benefiting through the Catholic Church Outreach Program.
To date, 16 refugees are receiving treatment - 10 more than the original target number. The church would like to help more refugees but it is constrained by limited funds, the bishop said.
He explained that the Church felt compelled to assist some of the refugees as the government’s ARV program currently only covers citizens. Botswana, like several countries on the African continent, must deal with influx of refugees from neighboring countries, who flee due to civil war and violence.
“The availability of drugs has raised hope among the refugees, but we cannot help all of them and I urge all the other stakeholders to heed the call to help the refugees,” he said.