U.S. Government Establishes Telehealth Partnership

The Embassy of the United States of America in partnership with Rutgers University, the University of Botswana (UB), and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) is pleased to officially launch a $160,000 (BWP 1,750,000) grant that will create a clinical telehealth program in Botswana and further strengthen existing medical and higher education partnerships between our two countries.

The project, part of the U.S. Department of State’s University Partnership Initiative (UPI), supports Government of Botswana pandemic mitigation efforts to remote and under-resourced communities across the country as well as establishes a framework to strengthen health systems through telehealth and expanded educational opportunities.

The grant focuses on improving the quality, safety, effectiveness, and delivery of medical treatment, care, and prevention throughout Botswana.  Initially the program will focus on COVID-19, tuberculosis, and HIV, setting the groundwork for treatment of other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Grant funding will be used to:

  • Expand virtual learning through a structured curriculum that includes materials, live and recorded webinars, team-based simulation activities, and resources for UB health professions programs (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, allied health) and MoHW healthcare workforce.
  • Build a telehealth network of clinical experts that offers case consultations and patient virtual visits in all health districts. The project will create a framework to establish four clinical sites (Francistown, Gaborone, Maun, and Serowe) as the regional telehealth hubs.  Virtual care team networks from these hub sites will deploy expertise and resources in real-time or on-demand to peripheral health districts (hospitals, clinics, and health posts).
  • Utilize health information technology to forecast, prevent, and control old/new epidemics (COVID-19, H1N1, SARS), infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB), and noncommunicable diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease). This includes disease surveillance, infectious disease modelling, pathogen discovery, contact tracing, and public health awareness programs.

The UPI seeks to strengthen existing ties and foster new collaborations between U.S. and African universities.  In the first year, the U.S. government committed more than $4 million to the program.

Through the UPI, the U.S. Embassy will engage institutions of higher education to increase staff and student exchanges between the United States and Botswana.  It will also implement new collaborative research agendas and leverage partnerships with public, private, and non-profit sector institutions in both countries.

For additional information, please contact the U.S. Embassy Press Office at 373-2419 or PASGaborone@state.gov