Botswana’s Ministry of Health is the critical partner in Airborne’s efforts. This relationship was established through an initial Memorandum of Understand five years ago and we are extremely please that is has just been extended.
When the MOU was first signed in 2006, then Minister of Sheila Tlou said that the service was “a real boost to the health system and a model for Africa and the rest of the world.” Press coverage of that signing is highlighted below.
The Minister of Health Sheila Tlou yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Airborne Lifeline Foundation (AFL), for the provision of air services to deliver medical items, medical personnel and drugs.
Tlou said the services, which will be provided to hospitals and clinics throughout the country, will initially focus on the most urgent – HIV/AIDS management – with focus on transportation of medical specialists on outreach services, restocking of ARV drugs, vaccines and reagents. Other services that will be provided for will include blood transfusion, supervisory services and training MASA programme visits.
Although the memorandum of understanding runs for five years, Tlou said she is hopeful that it will last longer. “It is a real boost to the health system and a model for Africa and the rest of the world,” she said.
Botswana will not be expected to make any financial contribution to the project but will make a waiver of landing, parking and enroute fees. However, funding is expected to be sourced from PEPFAR and other US based donors. AFL president Johnathan Miller who is based in Washington in the United States said this initiative is a collective idea. Miller, who is in the aviation business, said that they were motivated by the medical needs of Botswana. He said they first started talking to the doctor who was in charge of the ARV program at ACHAP and eventually more doctors. Miller said it seemed like a simple idea to provide services to the health facilities and Botswana was proactive with its ARV program.