Franziska Rook


Since the late 1990s, public-private partnerships in the health care field have increasingly been applied. Driven by a common goal, actors from the public, private, and third sector work together in partnerships. This paper will analyze an initiative that is aimed at providing nationwide access to HIV/AIDS treatment in Botswana. Very prominent members of the private and third sector, namely the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck, Inc./Merck Company Foundation, are supporting the partnership. Botswana was chosen as the pilot country because its President, Festus Mogae, demonstrated outspoken leadership in the fight against AIDS. AIDS has had devastating effects, especially for sub-Saharan Africa, where 68 percent of all worldwide infected live. The virus has destroyed families and economies; it orphaned 15.2 million children worldwide, among them 12 million in sub- Saharan Africa, and led many to believe that a national strategy to combat the disease is not feasible (UNICEF, n.d.). Despite the criticism, the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP) was launched in 2000 and has been extended until 2009. The program has tremendous resources, yet it took some time to get off the ground. As of late 2006, 72.2 percent of all Botswanese eligible for treatment are receiving the life-prolonging medication, which is provided by Merck at no cost. The partnership continues to grow and expand its role model character in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS.