November 3, 2022
On October 4, 2022, the Botswana Ministry of Health (MoH) launched the Botswana Public Health Institute (BPHI) in Gaborone. The formation of the BPHI is in line with the world’s best practices in preparing for effective responses to public health emergencies. The launch event highlighted the BPHI Reference Group’s appointment comprised of multi-sectoral partnerships, including the Country Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Steven Hong, as a representative from the U.S. government.
The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for countries to have institutions like the CDC. Botswana’s efforts to operationalize the BPHI brings it one step closer to achieving this reality. The inception process started in 2017 when the MoH formally requested the CDC to assist with the National Public Health Institute (NPHI) development, with the intent to launch in 2017 through $250,000 in seed funding from the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) through CDC. While the launch process was delayed until 2020, support from the CDC has helped the MoH operationalize this ongoing process. The U.S. Mission continues its partnership with the Government of Botswana and support for BPHI, working to link it to other established NPHIs for experience learning and engaging mentors to further develop this important institution.
The U.S. Mission in Botswana’s CDC office has also leveraged PEPFAR funding to build capacity for the National Health Laboratory, an essential part of the BPHI. These efforts included building an enhanced biosafety level 2 multi-story National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) facility at a cost of $4.3 million, equipping the facility and providing initial training and mentorship for personnel. This laboratory served as the diagnostics coordination point for the Botswana public health laboratory’s COVID-19 response. In addition, the U.S. Mission provided equipment for building an emergency operation center for the BPHI. It also trained district healthcare workers as part of the public health outbreak laboratory management through a short course known as the Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Program (FELTP). The CDC also organized benchmarking trips and twinning programs to capacitate the MOH staff on public health institute functions.
For additional information, please contact the U.S. Embassy Press Office at 373-2419 or PASGaborone@state.gov.