The Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana (UB), Prof. David Norris says Hospital Managers across the country are very happy with the quality of the university’s trained medical doctors.
The Vice Chancellor was addressing councillors on Wednesday at Selebi Phikwe Town Council. The relatively new School of Medicine at the University has already produced doctors, both general practitioners and specialists now plying their trade in various hospitals across the country, Prof Norris has said.
He pointed out that the UB’s medical programme is an excellent one and was designed in partnership with the top two universities in the world, being Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania which is commonly known as UPenn. He revealed that another top institution of higher learning, the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has recently expressed interest in partnering with the UB School of Medicine which bears testimony to the desirable quality that the university produces.
Prof. Norris conceded that while UB has played a very big role in the development of human capital needed to drive the economy of the country, the university has lagged behind in communicating their research output to the relevant communities and sectors so as to further impact positively on the economic development of the nation. He advanced that UB should have been the first to conduct research on the socio-economic impact posed by the closure of the BCL mine and coming up with recommendations on which economic activities can be conducted to breathe life back in the now ailing Selebi Phikwe.
The Vice Chancellor noted that UB was founded on the basis of the generosity of the people and therefore the university should play a meaningful role in economic development for Batswana. He pointed out that community engagement is central in building an all-inclusive institution where the university uses its great resources to impact positive change in different spheres of life and improve economic and social conditions as espoused in the university’s mission statement.
“For every challenge encountered, one has to rise up and succeed in the midst of challenges. We are here for you. UB was set up for the nation and therefore UB must rise up to the occasion and help the nation,” said Prof Norris. He said that the university has highly qualified academic staff who conduct academic deep-dive researches which are not known to the general public and business, pointing out that it is time for the university to go and meet the communities and local businesses to share research findings in order to inspire innovation and technological advancement.
“We cannot have a situation where professors sit in the office and pile up researches that they use only for their promotion. As professors, when we do research, one has to answer the question of whose problem are you trying to solve. We have played a big role in the development of human capital but we need to do a lot more. We have to do research with a developmental focus,” he said.
He described the Faculty of Business as fully fledged, capacitated and ready to work with various businesses to help them to thrive and enhance economic development. Prof Norris explained that Government Departments, local authorities and businesses can be partners in the building of an economically developed nation backed by research as businesses rely on innovation to prosper.
The Vice Chancellor further revealed that they intend to revise their strategic foundations to align their objectives with focus on becoming a leading international academic centre of excellence which is highly research intensive. He said as UB, they want to become a research based institution as universities across the world are recognised and ranked by the quality of their research output. To achieve this, he said the university will increase the number for postgraduate studies in order to improve their research capacity, pointing further that this is necessary as nations’ economies are driven by research and innovation.
Prof Norris said that their research interests include protection of indigenous knowledge where traditional medicine can be linked to science where people with knowledge of the traditional medicine can work with UB Scientists to scientifically test and provide scientific information for the traditional mixtures.
He said it is mind-boggling that in the modern day, some mothers who go to the hospitals to give birth never go back home alive while mothers in the olden times and some today who give birth at home through the help of elders undergo a normal natural birth and survive to take care of their babies. Prof Norris noted that traditional knowledge on natural birth can be shared with scientists to enhance delivery methods in maternity wards where life will be preserved and not lost.
Another partnering opportunity is with regard to the use of the University’s state-of-the-art facilities like the Indoor Sport Centre, the Olympic-size swimming pool and the stadium which sport developers can utilise to produce top athletes that can compete in international stage and fly the Botswana flag high.
The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.
Disability in Botswana, like in many other nations, has been characterized by exclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization. Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have led to barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information. The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has further perpetuated the exclusion of IWDs from society.
The National Policy on Care for People with Disabilities (NPCPD) in Botswana, established in 1996, aims to recognize and protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of integration and equal opportunities for IWDs in various sectors such as health, education, employment, and social development. While the policy provides a framework for addressing disability issues, it falls short of enacting disability-specific legislation to protect the rights of IWDs.
In 2010, the Government of Botswana established an office for IWDs within the Office of the President to coordinate disability-related policies and programs. While this office plays a crucial role in mobilizing resources for the implementation of policies, its approach to service delivery is rooted in social welfare, focusing on the care of IWDs as a social burden rather than recognizing their rights.
The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has hindered the recognition of the rights of IWDs and the enactment of laws to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. Without legal protections in place, IWDs continue to face barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information, perpetuating their exclusion from society.
In order to address the exclusion of IWDs in Botswana, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the enactment of disability-specific legislation to protect their rights and ensure equal opportunities for all. By recognizing the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, Botswana can work towards creating a more inclusive society where IWDs are valued and included in all aspects of life.
DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.
In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.
What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.
As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.