Masire Hospital will target private clientele
When fully operational, the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is expected to avert the need for the government of Botswana to refer patients to the Republic of South Africa and other countries like India for high level care, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ruth Maphorisa has said.
SKMTH is expected to be fully operational early next year (2019). The hospital, it is expected will save government millions of Pula, and relieve pressure from Botswana’s major public health care providers, Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) and Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital when it comes to elite patients. The hospital will also come as competition for private hospitals such as Bokamoso Private Hospital and Gaborone Private Hospital.
The hospital, located on the grounds of the University of Botswana campus in Gaborone, is a 450 bed quaternary hospital. The mandate of the hospital when fully functional is threefold: which will be 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.
It is hoped 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 hospital, according to Maphorisa will operate as a quaternary hospital. “It will fit into the apex of a healthcare referral ecosystem that entails the two regional tertiary hospitals, namely PMH and Nyangabgwe Referral Hospitals, which will refer into SKMTH for super-specialized health services.”
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.
Upon full commissioning, SKMTH will 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.
Most of these cases have been referred across the borders. 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, Maphorisa says SKMTH will train and produce international standard healthcare professionals for the entire national healthcare system, and beyond.
“Through research, SKMTH will lead in the development of health solutions for its population and community, such as vaccines and new modalities of treating and managing emerging and established health challenges,” she told WeekendPost.
Based on on-going project commissioning work, it is reasonably anticipated that official opening of SKMTH will be in March/ April 2019.
The three areas of concern for the local health fraternity has always been Oncology, nephrology and ophthalmology. Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Nephrology is a specialty of medicine and pediatrics that concerns itself with the kidneys.
An online platform, medical.com defines it as “the study of normal kidney function and kidney disease, the preservation of kidney health, and the treatment of kidney disease, from diet and medication to renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation).” Nephrology also studies disease conditions that affect the kidneys, such as diabetes and autoimmune disease; and systemic diseases that occur as a result of kidney disease, such as renal osteodystrophy and hypertension.
On the other hand vision health says Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery (both methods are used) that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eyeball and orbit. The SKMTH project is the first of its kind in Botswana, both in terms of magnitude and complexity. The Vision of the hospital is anchored on providing unmatched regional excellence in the areas of clinical care, education and research.
The painstaking process of procuring and receiving equipment, finalizing the business plan, finalizing and executing an organizational structure and culture that will deliver to the aspirations of the project, developing management operating systems, processes, procedures and quality standards, is one that is being approached with the utmost care and caution, while balancing that with the need for a timely opening to serve the needs of the community/nation.
The capital expenditure has been in the region of 2 billion Pula. Operating costs are still being defined as part of the business plan for effect next Government financial year. The idea to open the facility came as the government wants to position Botswana as one of the leading health centres. The facility was named Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) after the late Sir Ketumile Masire, who was the second president of this republic.
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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help
President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.
Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”
Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.
On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.
He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”
President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.
“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”
When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.
“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”
He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.
“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:
He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”
Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.
“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”
In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.
It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.
Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.
President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”
In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”
He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.
“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”
Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”
Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV
Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.
“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”
Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.
“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”
He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.
In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.
Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.
Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”
“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”
Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.
“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”