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BAIS V Prepares to Launch in Botswana

The Botswana AIDS Impact Survey V (BAIS V) is preparing to commence fieldwork in March, and staff and resources are being mobilized in anticipation of the launch. BAIS V is a national survey that is assessing the prevalence of HIV and the coverage and the impact of HIV services, as well as characterizing HIV-related risk behaviors. It is the fifth such survey conducted in Botswana since 2001. The survey will reach approximately 13,500 randomly selected households and interview 28,800 people.

The survey was originally scheduled to begin in 2020 but was paused due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the situation in Botswana has improved, the Government of Botswana and the BAIS V team are moving forward with the survey and have put in place all necessary safety measures to protect staff and participants.

See our gallery page for more images from the BAIS V pre-survey training and field practice.

BAIS V is being led by the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), Botswana National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA), Statistics Botswana, and the National Health Laboratory. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing funding under PEPFAR as part of the Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIA) being conducted in PEPFAR-supported countries. The PHIA are providing critical information about the status of HIV/AIDS, while also building capacity by strengthening the workforce and providing the infrastructure needed to design, conduct, analyze, and disseminate results. PHIA measure national and regional progress toward meeting UNAIDS' 90-90-90 goals and help to refocus resources where needed to move countries closer to HIV epidemic control.

Prior to the commencement of fieldwork, a ceremonial survey launch will take place on February 26 in Gaborone, Botswana. The ceremony will include remarks from ministerial and other dignitaries, including the Honorable Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, NAHPA Acting National Director Dr. Robert Selato, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana Craig Cloud, PEPFAR Botswana Coordinator Ms. Lindsay Little, Ciheb Global Director and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Man Charurat, and Statistics Botswana Statistician General Dr. Burton Mguni. 

BAIS V Project Director and Ciheb Botswana Country Director Dr. Reson Marima has been readying her team for the launch. "We are looking forward to crossing the threshold from preparation to implementation and generating quality data that to help end HIV/AIDS in Botswana," she said.

Ciheb is partnering with the MOHW and the other agencies to support the implementation of BAIS V.

Woman speaking at conference
Statistics Botswana Principal Investigator Susan Matroos addresses participants at the Central Level Training launch in Gaborone, Botswana with Dr. Robert Selato, NAHPA acting national director.

Central Level Training and Field Practice

Prior to the start of the survey, BAIS V staff were immersed in a series of intensive training sessions over a seven-week period. The first set of core training sessions, called Central Level Training (CLT) for Field Implementation, covered topics that included step-by-step procedures in administering the HIV survey, ethics and regulation, data capture and transmission, a review of different HIV/AIDS dynamics, and detailed methods for maintaining COVID-19 safety. The CLT concluded with a four-day field practice event where staff acquired hands-on experience with methods covered in the classroom.

Officials from the Government of Botswana, the CDC, and Ciheb spoke at an event at the start of the training. The speakers included Statistics Botswana Principal Investigator Susan Matroos, NAHPA Acting National Director Dr. Robert Selato, CDC Epidemiologist and Co-Principal Investigator Rebecca Laws, and Ciheb Global Director and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Man Charurat. Dr. Laws and Dr. Charurat spoke to the attendees virtually from the United States via Zoom.

Speaker addressing audience
Dr. Reson Marima, BAIS V project director and Botswana country director, explains COVID-19 mitigation measures with Dr. Jibril Haruna, COVID-19 response team coordinator, during the CLT training.

Dr. Charurat congratulated the Botswana Government for its progress in arriving at "the apex of HIV epidemic control." He explained how the BAIS V would help guide HIV programming to further support the people of Botswana.

The CLT was preceded by a five-day BAIS V Training-of-Trainers (ToT) workshop. The ToT graduates led the CLT.

For more about the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey,
visit the BAIS V website.