Preparations are at an advanced staged for the Selebi Phikwe Government Hospital (SPGH) to be accredited by the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern African (COHSASA) in February 2017.
SPGH will be the third public hospital to be accredited by the international body following the accreditation assessment that started in 2014 with a baseline of 40% score. Within three years, the hospital is now at 86% overall score and the verge of bagging the much sought-after COHSASA accreditation.
Compliance requirements sums up to an 80% compliance under every service element or critical areas. There should not be any non-compliant standard and once all the service elements have acquired 80% and above, the facility will be accredited. The Head of Selebi Phikwe District Health Team (DHMT) and also Hospital Superintendent for SPGH, Dr Joseph Shama says that out of approximately 500 critical areas or service elements, they have managed to close the gaps and are now working on the last 40 elements. To acquire the accreditation, the facility goes through a quality improvement programme in which it is assessed against internationally approved health care standards.
COHSASA is the only internationally accredited quality improvement and accreditation body for African-based healthcare facilities. Only Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole and Mahalapye District Hospital have been awarded the accreditation by COHSASA. Others include Xhosa and Airstrip primary healthcare clinics which are feeder clinics for Mahalapye District Hospital and Phutadikobo Clinic in Molepolole, making it five, the total number of public health facilities accredited by COHSASA in Botswana.
Dr Joseph Shama is confident that come February, his hospital will receive the accreditation in February. He told WeekendPost in an interview that had it not for the fact that the hospital is old and required more development and maintenance, they would have long been accredited. Newer and modern hospitals have failed to satisfy the requirement for the accreditation including the country’s referral hospitals, Princess Marina and Nyangabwe. Dr Shama revealed that the COHSASA team is happy and surprised by the speed at which SPGH has managed to significantly close the gaps in a shorter period of time, a development that has made the hospital a benchmark institution in this regard.
Dr Shama noted that the accreditation is critical for healthcare organisations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continually improve their services. He says the benefits of accreditation include among others, improved quality and safety of care; reduced costs; enhanced organisational structures and service delivery as well as boosting investor confidence. He stated that international health funders would not invest in a health facility that that does not meet international standards.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.