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The Botwana-UPenn Partnership (BUP) was founded in 2001 with the goal to bolster healthcare and research in Botswana, especially related to HIV. Prior to BUP’s founding, Botswana gained international attention for a shortage of doctors and 40% of the population testing positive for HIV/AIDS. Collaborations with the University of Pennsylvania, Botswana Ministry of Health, and the University of Botswana allow BUP fellows to take a broad interdisciplinary approach to building health care capacity and reduce the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Since 2001, the HIV prevalence has dropped to about 21.9%, but Botswana still has the third highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. Headquartered in Garborone on the University of Botswana’s campus, BUP offers an immersive global health experience to its fellows in programs that address the health and welfare of Botswana.
BUP provides programming opportunities to fellows in research, clinical care, and education. Performing research with BUP provides opportunities to research topics such as HIV and co-infections, immunology, genomics, oncology, virology, physiology, transmission, and treatment adherence. Working in clinical care at different hospitals, HIV clinics, and government outpatient clinics exposes fellows to topics such as co-morbidity, tuberculosis, cervical cancer, dermatology, and pediatrics. Given the high rates of HIV and other infectious diseases in Botswana, building capacity in Botswana is of the utmost importance. Working in education in Botswana allows fellows to assist in the development of post-graduate training and research programs, which has trained over 4,000 Botswana healthcare workers to date.
Patel, Sweta, MD