By Tapela Morapedi
The Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) has started the year 2020 on a high note by holding Board of Members and Annual General Meeting on the 23rdof January to discuss strategic matters that shall drive the BHP mandate throughout the year. Chaired by Professor Michelle Williams Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, the AGM approved Audited Financial for the year ended 20thJune 2019. These together with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book” audit were unqualified as has been the case since the incorporation of the BHP, reinforcing the robustness of the BHP financial and compliance systems.
The AGM was informed of another successful research and publication year with 65 BHP publications in peer-reviewed journals including 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine and 45 abstracts presented at various scientific local and international journals. The Botswana Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory (BHHRL) also retained it’s SADCAS ISO 15189 accreditation status.
Following the AGM, the BHP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Joseph Makhema hosted the Board of Members and Board of Directors for an appreciation dinner at Falcon Crest to express his gratitude for the members’ continued support and commitment to the BHP.
“It is important that we start the year strong and I would like to thank you for your commitment to providing strategic direction for the BHP. The AGM discussed important issues that will effectively drive our mandate going forward,” said Dr Makhema.
The BHP Chief Executive said management’s confidence is buoyed by the board’s commitment to providing wise guidance and oversight to ensure that BHP remains resolute in its mission to fight HIV/AIDS and emerging health challenges through innovative research, education and capacity building that impacts on policy and practice. He assured the board that BHP will continue to strengthen its systems and operational efficiencies to ensure that it lives to its vision to be a world renowned center of Research Excellence whose output informs not only national but global health policies.
Speaking at the dinner, a member of the BHP Board of Members, Dr Mark Elliot Vice Provost for international Affairs at Harvard University in the United States of America (USA) said he was thankful for the good partnership that the Botswana Government has with Harvard University. He commended the partnership for adavancing health research to ensure that innovative solutions are being provided to the address global public health challenges.
The Professor revealed that Botswana is the first country he ever visited in Africa, and expressed appreciation not only for the good work done by the BHP for the people of Botswana in general whom he described as “very cool people.” As Vice Provost for International Affairs, he took the opportunity to thank Botswana and management of BHP for promoting Harvard University by projecting a positive image and stature of being the country’s Centre of Excellence in health research.
“Thank you for making Harvard look good,” he said, amid infectious laughter that spread across the room in sync with the dying scratching sound of fork and knife against the plate, ending the dinner on a light note.