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The unsung heroes of medicine

Everyone who has been to either a clinic or hospital is familiar with a doctor. They alongside nurses and physiotherapists have direct contact with patients and as a result the public holds medical doctors in high esteem. Parents encourage their children to become doctors, and students with an aptitude for science aspire to be physicians.

The importance of medical doctors is indisputable but there are other medical professionals just as important but often over looked. Chief among the over looked medical professionals are Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS professionals).  

They are the scientists who handle stool, urine, blood and all manner of samples from the human body to conduct tests which will identify the cause of illness. They are the pillar upon which evidence based medicine stands on.

Without diagnostic tests being carried out doctors rely on clinical methods to determine the cause of illness in a patient. Clinical methods rely on an assessment of symptoms manifesting in the patient and they do not guarantee an accurate diagnosis. The uncertainty of clinical tests makes laboratory tests all the more important regardless of their expense because a wrong diagnosis is a potential disaster.

Tapiwa Mugadza, a MLS professional at Optimum Health laboratories advocates strongly for evidence based medicine. When asked if there can ever be a compromise on laboratory tests he said, “there should be no compromise on evidence based medicine, it can cost individuals and institutions significant monetary losses in miss-prescribed drugs and worse still, false diagnosis may result in loss of life” He goes on to describe circumstances in which both can occur.

In one scenario a doctor after assessing the symptoms of a patient identifies that the patient is anaemic. Assuming the patient has an iron deficiency the physician goes on to prescribe iron tablets, yet the reality is that the patient’s anemia is due to a low platelet count.

Though the doctor may eventually realise the error and prescribe the correct treatment iron tablets would have been wasted. Such an error is costly to the patient who purchases their own drugs, it is costly to medical aid companies which cover cost of treatment for their clients and it is costly to tax payers whose money runs public clinics and hospitals.

In another situation a patient has meningitis; meningitis can either be caused by a virus, fungus or bacteria. The appropriate treatment depends on which type of meningitis it is and a delay in treatment can be fatal. To prevent unnecessary loss of life it is important that a laboratory test be done to determine the cause of meningitis and consequently apply the correct treatment.

Such errors are not common place in Botswana because there are plenty of laboratories both public and private such as Diagnofirm which are available to ensure the standards of evidence based medicine are upheld.

Dr. Denys R. Estrada a Dermatologist at Letlalo Skin Medical Centre also believes strongly in the importance of laboratory tests but he points out that in a field such as dermatology clinical examinations are often enough to correctly diagnose a patient. He adds that there are very few circumstances in which a laboratory test will be needed to determine the cause of a skin condition.

The importance of medical laboratory science has not gone unnoticed by key policy makers in government. Since 2008 the University of Botswana (UB) has been steadily making major strides in improving the curriculum of this science.

Mr. Modisa Motswaledi the Head of the School of Allied Health Professions and the President of the Botswana Institute for Clinical Laboratory Professionals is particularly proud of the progress UB has made. He points out that the B.Sc. in cytototechnology and B.Sc. in histotechnology offered at UB are not available in most African countries. This means that UB is not only training scientists for Botswana alone but for the whole of Africa.

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Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022
Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
Dada

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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