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Research, Innovation key in revitalizing ailing health systems

In an effort to revitalize what seems to be a continuous deteriorating health care system, health scholars have pointed the important need of research and innovative strategies in the health sector as this will enhance sustainable quality healthcare and improve health services delivery.

Officiating during the 4th International Research Conference for Institute of Health Sciences and Mission Institutions, University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris hinted that for any health system, there is no reasonable services can be delivered without paying attention to research and innovation. He noted that research remain an engine to health promotion and economic growth adding that empirical research evidence strengthens capacity building  across health sciences discipline.

‘‘ A lot still needs to be done on health research perspective and research that is informed by challenges faced by the society and health sector at large should be conducted with the outcomes being fully implemented to bolster the local health system,’’ charged Norris.
Norris indicated that the local health workers through Institutes for Health Sciences and Mission Institutions are in a better environment to be the driving force of research and emphasized that the government should avail more resources for this institutions to come up with innovative health improving strategies based on research.

He added: ‘‘Training of health professionals should be theoretical based but it should be extensively practical as well with innovative teaching modes being applicable. As a result research on health sciences and funding should be a priority for the government for promoting the healthcare, because with a sick population there is no productivity and no economic development as well.’’

Moreover, he raised concern that of recent pregnant mothers have been losing babies due to miscarriages in public hospitals therefore calling on the researchers to tap in the issue with research in order to find out the root cause of the problem. The UB provost also reckoned that there is a need for forging relationships and collaborations with powerhouse’s health sciences and research institutions such as Harvard University and pointed out that the strong relationship between local health training institutions and the industry at large will propel the innovative ideas which will promote effective health sector.

He also cautioned that the data analysis and samples of researches conducted in Botswana should be also done locally, as this will help in improving research capacity amongst the local health researchers or scholars citing that this will also enable the implementation of knowledge based economy which hinges on aspects of local evidence base research, innovation and the application of technology.

For her part, the University of Eswatini based scholar, Professor Patricia Joubert said for the past 50 years most African governments made significant strides in investing on the health sectors through training of nurses, doctors and building health facilities
 She however noted that there is a necessity to improve on health training practices and align them to the west training system as an endeavour to initiate the doctor or nurses without borders and this could be only successful through applying sophisticated, innovative and integrated health professional training methods.

Professor Joubert also said Botswana as a country should be applauded for investing a lot on both the health and education sectors as this is not the case with some African counterparts which are experiencing decline in the health budget putting priorities on other selfish interests particularly by the leaders.

University of South Africa lecturer in the Department of Health Studies and Dr Margaret Ramukumba challenged on the Ministry of Health & Wellness to embark on benchmarking process on other countries health systems, and emphasized the importance of strengthening health promotion through Community Based Teams through implementation on Community Health Workers which is a model in which Botswana can tap into to re-energize the local Primary Health Care.

Ramukumba also proposed that the government through the MOHW     can invest into Mobile Health which she pointed is doing very well in South Africa as it can enhance the creation of Health Information Hub which will particularly assist health researchers when looking for information during research period.


The local health professionals have expressed with concern how their efforts to conduct research are halted by Princess Marina Hospital which they expect it to be a major source of information for their research. Some told this publication that the management of PMH takes long to give back the permission on their proposed research areas adding that the hospital is cagey to share information with the researchers due to some intimidating kind of bureaucracy found in the hospital.

One of the health professionals said: ‘‘Sometimes as the workers we are willing to conduct research and our only difficult is getting access to information from the public health facilities which are the mainly prime sources of information. The Ministry as well is not doing enough to help us meet our desires as there is no adequate research budget set aside.”

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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