Connect with us

Gov’t backs down on controversial health policy

The Government has withdrawn the Savingram on removal from medical cover for self-inflicted harm which it had directed to all District Health Management Teams (DHMT) to implement.

The Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Phillip Makgalemele told Selebi Phikwe DHMT staff on Tuesday that Government has withdrawn the savingram following concerns raised from various sectors of the society. The policy has since been suspended to allow Government to consult all stakeholders before the policy could be re-introduced. The policy in question sought to exclude medical cover to people who got injured at alcohol related activities including those associated with suicide and lung cancer which they referred to as self-inflicted injuries.

 “Because we value consultation, we have withdrawn the savingram to allow for consultations with all stakeholders,” he said. The Assistant Minister was addressing staff at the Selebi Phikwe DHMT as part of his familiarisation tour of his new ministry’s facilities. In the last Cabinet Reshuffle, Makgalemele was moved from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration as Assistant Minister to the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the same capacity.

At this meeting, Makgalelemele heard various challenges that the health facilities experience from different departments. The Head of the Selebi Phikwe DHMT, Dr. Joseph Shama revealed that Selebi Phikwe Government Hospital is overwhelmed with workload since the closure of BCL. He noted that the majority of patients suffer from Non-Communicable Diseases.     

Apart from workload due to an increase of patients the hospital receives, shortage of staff especially in speciality areas such as Physiotherapy also lead to the heavy workload. Other problems the DHMT experiences is shortage of accommodation, lack of uniform and Personal Protective Clothing (PPE) among other challenges.

The Assistant Minister encouraged the staff members to rise above their challenges and thrive to do the best notwithstanding available challenges. He shared with the staff members the Government’s Ten Point Agenda which was developed to improve service delivery within the public service.

The Ten Point Agenda complements the public service charter which sets out the basic principles of public service by which officers are guided for effect service delivery. Like the public charter principles, Makgalelemele encouraged the staff members to use the ten point agenda to guide them both in their relations with each other as colleagues and their dealings with the customers which they serve.

One of the ten points is “respect to all customers at all times” which he said must be the basis of all interaction with the patients which will lead to the officers “maintaining professionalism” when providing the healthcare service. He emphasised that when the ten points agenda is effectively implemented and all public servants strive to apply the principles, service delivery will be realised despite the challenges.

Makgalemele also explained that the ministry has realised that health service providers often make patients wait very long hours under the excuse that “the system is down.” He explained that a decision has been taken that in an event the Government Accounting and Business System (GABS) is not working, waiting period for the system to normalise must not exceed 30 minutes.  “When the 30 minutes waiting period elapses, service must continue to be given manually. Patients must not be left to wait longer than necessary just because the system is down,” he said.

Continue Reading


Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading


FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading


Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!