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The private sector responds to the epidemic : Debswana, a global benchmark : UNAIDS case study

In many respects, Botswana is Africa’s success story. It is peaceful, democratic and prosperous. But it also has the worst AIDS epidemic in the world, with an adult prevalence rate estimated at 35.8%. This case study describes the response to this tragedy (which threatens to reverse all the country’s gains of the past decades) of one of the most important companies in Botswana—the Debswana diamond-mining company. The company started with an AIDS education and awareness programme, appointed full-time AIDS programme coordinators and developed an HIV/AIDS management policy. It conducted an institutional audit of susceptibility and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, which is reported in some detail, together with findings and lessons learned. Debswana’s work on HIV/AIDS represents a ray of hope in a bleak situation and has much to teach the private sector in the region and, perhaps, globally.

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