A Future beyond HIV/AIDS? Health as a Political Commodity in Botswana

Astrid Bochow


Referencing scholarly debates on humanitarianism and specifically HIV interventions, this article analyses the commodification of health in Botswana’s political arena throughout the HIV pandemic and beyond, contributing to a re-evaluation of the distribution of public wealth and international support in welfare states in Africa. The starting point of the analysis is a project to build a private hospital – a move to create a centre of excellence exclusive of international HIV/AIDS donations – and the staging of political responsibilities around it. Public investment into private health is an attempt to reform infrastructures built with HIV/AIDS money and to develop a market of high-paying jobs within the country. This process transforms the inalienable and indivisible condition of health and survival into a political commodity.

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