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Cabinet tiptoes over Masire Hospital pay structure

One of the main reason the multibillion pula state-of-the-art Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is failing to begin its first phase of operation is because Cabinet has pushed the institution’s envisaged remuneration structure submitted by the board earlier this year under the carpet.

Information before this publication shows that the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW), together with SKMTH board, agreed that the quaternary hospital will have to hire experts and therefore remunerate handsomely. The Ministry together with the board then roped in Tsa-Badiri Consultants to draft the Teaching Hospital pay structure which was shoved under the carpet without any reasons advanced to the concerned parties by cabinet.

“The remuneration strategy was presented to cabinet so that it can be adopted. But it was deferred because there were other developments. This institution needs skilled personnel so it is not like the budget was ridiculous or something, we did this in consultation with experts after looking at the market price and other related things,” former Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Alfred Madigele confirmed. It is however not coming out clear as to why cabinet had to defer the pay structure.

Madigele says it was because there were other developments, a reason which according to proponents of the institution does not hold water. “If the remuneration was too much they could have shared, but I doubt it was, because this is a tertiary hospital of which we will have to pay its staff workers handsomely,” says a concerned source who had expected the facility to be operating by now.

Government is however still hopeful that the hospital will attract the best clinical and academic staff in the region, possibly internationally, and will be a destination of choice for clients seeking world class cost effective medical services. The mandate of the hospital when fully functional is threefold: to provide world class medical services at a quaternary level, to work in conjunction with the University of Botswana School of Health Services to provide world class health education, and lastly to  act as a hub for health research.

Upon full commissioning, SKMTH is expected to offer broad areas of service like; Critical and Trauma Care, Women and Child Care, Cardiac Care Comprehensive Oncology Care, Nephrology and Transplant Services, Internal Medicine, Surgical Services and Allied Health Services. Weekendpost is reliably informed that another reason why the facility is still not open is lack of technical partners. Initially, SKMTH was to get technical advice from University of Botswana’s medical school but it appears the deal has collapsed.

“The government wants Rutgers University to offer technical advice because they are experience and recently ministry officials toured the hospital in USA to familiarize themselves with the process of a teaching hospital,” disclosed a source. Madigele admitted that while still a Minister, they were still looking for technical advisors but could not confirm if the government has agreed a deal with Rutgers University.

The capital expenditure of the teaching hospital is estimated on the region of P2 billion. Operating costs are still being defined as part of the business plan, but it was estimated at P1 billion a year. Government had wished the hospital would open in March, but after some hiccups in the commissioning process, its grand opening was billed for April this year. New information gleaned from sources say, the facility might open in June next year after all the processes have been satisfied.

“These would include hiring of the staff because for you to be accredited you should have workers in place. These employees will have to look at critical parts of the hospital like radiation control and check if other equipment like X-rays and mammograms, which are at required level. Until all those have been met that hospital will remain a white elephant,” added the informant.

For a long time the government has been sending patients to India and South Africa for average and complicated surgeries. A whopping P 627 504 802, was spent on South African hospitals between 2014 and 2017, while Indian hospitals gobbled P13 million from the Ministry between 2015 and 2017. It was expected that SKMTH will be the panacea but its continued delay will bleed the government wallet.

Cases that have been referred across the borders include Oncology Care, Nephrology and Transplant Services. Reasons to transfer patients to private facilities outside borders ranged from complicated cases, lack of proper equipment and infrastructure in the local hospitals. Both Marina and Nyangabgwe are said to be lacking capacity in the three components to do the work with diligence. Additionally, SKMTH is expected to train and produce international standard healthcare professionals for the entire national healthcare system, and beyond.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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