News: US forces work with BDF to provide humanitarian support in Botswana
Story by Army Sgt. Adam Fischman
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
MONWANE, Botswana – Free contraceptives, medical treatment, educational support and counseling were provided to all who arrived at the humanitarian civilian assistance event Aug. 13 during Southern Accord 2012.
SA12 is a combined, joint exercise, which brings together the Botswana Defense Force with U.S. forces to strengthen their partnership through humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation.
“HCA events provide safe male circumcision, HIV testing, counseling and dental services to villagers,” said Army Capt. Jeffery Moye of the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion, Army Reserves out of Danbury, Conn.
Planning conferences took place in January, March and May, when U.S. military affiliates visited each of the villages in Botswana with their BDF counterparts to organize the humanitarian events, said Moye.
The first organized medical civil assistance program took place in August, at which time the primary focus was on providing SMC and dental support. On site, residents who volunteered to participate in the SMC received counseling, an HIV test and then the operation, as long as the test was negative, said Moye.
Individuals with other conditions and chronic illnesses were also treated, said Capt. Mbako Molopo, doctor, medical officer and SMC coordinator who has served 14 years in the BDF. Individuals who tested HIV positive were also treatable, he added.
“This is a big deal because these are areas that do not have easy access to SMC treatment services,” said Molopo. “The main reason circumcision is being performed here is because studies have shown that it reduces the chances of HIV transmission in males by 60 percent. Circumcision in Botswana has generated a lot of interest, to the point where most people want to have one performed.”