If men underwent regular menstruation as women, governments would have long provided free sanitary pads for everybody, declared Professor Sheila Tlou – Director of UNAIDS regional support team for Eastern and Southern Africa. Professor Tlou praised Botswana for having moved to provide free sanitary pads for all girl children but urged other countries to follow suit. Tlou is an academic and former minister of Health in Botswana. She was speaking as a guest of honour in Gaborone during the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation’s Fundraising Gala Dinner on Tuesday night. She charged that women should stand up for themselves because men will not do much for them. “If you remember when the first man was asked what he had done at the Garden of Eden, he said – ‘God the woman you send to me made me do it’. Men never spoke for us and never will,” she said. She further called for involvement of youth in decision making process, including having them appointed to Boards of companies so that companies can better address their concerns.
Reflecting on the HIV/AIDS status in her region, Professor Tlou said there has been a 24 percent reduction in new infections in the area, making it the only one to have made that progress in all regions of the world. “However the target is 50 percent and as a professor getting a 24 percent means one has F,” she declared, with F meaning failure. She urged Botswana to copy Uganda’s message on the value and benefits of circumcision, expressing the worry that Botswana’s message as carried in public adverts might not be discouraging unprotected sex even if one has circumcised.
Meanwhile following the recent passing on of Sir Ketumile Masire – the country’s second president – his eldest child Gaone has been appointed to replace him as the patron. Professor Tlou and former University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Professor Bojosi Otlhogile have been appointed to serve as new Trustees of the Foundation.