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“Why I Hope My Doctor Is Off Having a Cup of Tea”

DR BOIMA
HEALTH ISSUES


The best news to ever come out of the internet this week is a story by a British blogger named Jodie Hardwick, which can almost bring one to tears. I could not have said it better.
The insults, swearing and treatment we, health professionals sometimes suffer at the hands of those who have come to seek help from us (and those we sacrifice a lot for) is uncalled for. Ironical! The abuse is even worse in Government health facilities. In my observation, trying to explain why the doctor is late or absent at a particular time or place where they are expected yields more insults from the ‘stable’ mob waiting.

Doctors every day throughout the world are being scolded for being away handling an emergency somewhere, for taking a toilet break, for squeezing in a meal in their busy schedule, for being on the phone seeking clarity or second opinion about a patient. If everyone could appreciate just one good thing a doctor has ever done for them like this lady and try not to let impatience run away with their rationality, the world would be a much better place to live. It is called appreciation! Below is Jodie’s testimony.

“The other day, I was in a hospital waiting room waiting for an ultrasound appointment. There was a couple next to me, and they were not happy. Apparently, as the whole waiting room were finding out: their doctor was running late. After sighing repeatedly, getting up to ask the receptionist about 14 times how long they would be and talking very loudly about how 'f***ing useless [the medical staff] all are', the man turned to me, as if somehow we were kindred spirits, and said "forty f***ing' minutes late! You know fully well they're all just in there having a cup of tea or faffing about with paperwork.

You can't possibly be running forty minutes late at ten thirty in the morning". He looked at me and waited for me to agree with him and join in the ruthless slander on the National Health Service (NHS). I shrugged "Well, I certainly hope so" I said, before turning back to the seven year old copy of Heat I had found (did you know that Katie and Peter have split up?).

Realizing that he had not found his new BFF, the man went back to moaning loudly to his disinterested girlfriend, and didn't press me on whether I had just said what he thought I'd said. But I did say it, and I did hope it. I did hope that his doctor was off surfing Facebook or 'faffing about' with paperwork.
I'll explain.

When I was 27 weeks pregnant with the youngest baby H, I was at a family party when I started bleeding. A lot. After screaming for my husband, both he and my Mum rushed me to hospital. I rang on the way, bordering on hysterical, and was told by a kind and efficient midwife to come straight to the delivery ward where they would be waiting for me. They were, as I walked through the doors, a doctor and several midwives were there waiting, and rushed me in to triage without wasting a second.

As I lay on the bed, crying and waiting to hear that we had lost our precious unborn baby, I was introduced to our doctor, Elizabeth, who immediately tried to find our daughter's heartbeat. Within minutes someone had located a scanner and she was able to show us that she was still alive in there. In a ridiculous blur of activity, I was checked over, attached to a monitor and told a flurry of information that I didn't hear a word of. All I did hear is that there was a large possibility that they were going to need to deliver that night.

When a sudden extra gush of blood came, I was rushed in another room where I was then attached to a drip, and a number of other medically things that to this day I can't remember what they all were. Within half an hour of stepping foot through the doors, on a Saturday night, I was introduced to a stream of medical professionals: an anesthetist, someone from NICU, and more doctors and nurses.

I couldn't really take any of it in, but I knew our situation was dangerous and they were doing everything they could to keep me and my tiny baby safe. That same night I was given steroids for the baby's lungs, magnesium to protect her brain, and was monitored non-stop for 24 hours.

Long story short, they didn't need to deliver that night. The bleeding stopped and it emerged that the baby was OK. We weren't totally out of the woods, but for now we were going to be OK. I was kept in for five days, three of which I was on 24 hour monitoring, with a midwife in our room at nearly all times and checks being done hourly. After six days, I was allowed to leave. A bit shaken up, but ok.

We were told that no-one could be sure whether it would happen again. I would need to go for extra scans for the rest of my pregnancy to monitor the baby and me, but potentially that could be the end of it until we delivered. It wasn't. Two weeks later I bled again, luckily much lighter, but it still called for another three day admission. I was let out, only to be back in two days later, and so it continued. In total I was admitted and let out again seven times.

During our multiple stays in there, we were treated by a steady of doctors, midwives and care assistants. When my husband wasn't there when I was taken in on our third bleed, one of the midwives didn't go for her tea break and held my hand whilst a doctor checked me over. I was allocated a consultant, a very cool German, Boris Johnson-esque man who was straight talking but made me laugh.

He explained that the reason they weren't delivering was because our baby was safe, and showed no signs of being affected by all of it, so for now she was safer inside me than out. Every time I was admitted, he would come and see me several times to see how I was doing. No matter how many people needed him, and how busy he was, he would come and see me.

On the fifth (perhaps, who knows at this point) admission, the bleed that had led me to be in there again had been heavy, and I was starting to lose faith. I started telling myself that no matter they were saying, our baby was not going to be OK. No one could bleed this much and still be ok. I felt like shit, and I was on the verge of totally falling apart.

One of the doctors in my consultant's team, Eli, came in just doing the normal rounds that they did every day. I don't know whether she just is like this to everyone, or whether she could see I wasn't handling it so well anymore. But instead of the usual two minute run through of what was going on, the same polite smile and then leave, she stayed for ages and told me things were going to be OK.

She explained why the baby really was safer inside, and what was going to happen. She stayed and answered a thousand questions and didn't leave until I was done. She didn't tell me that she had a million more important things to do and that I was wasting her time.

When it was decided that I would eventually deliver, at 35 weeks, my midwife spent her break finding me ice because I kept saying how much I needed it. Eli, the same Dr as before, supervised the whole thing and came in throughout my labor to check if I was doing OK because she knew I wasn't. When my waters had to be broken and it was uncertain whether I would start to bleed again and need an emergency section, a team of specialists were outside our hospital room to jump into action just in case.

Here's the thing: none of those people 'had the time'. When I came in, bleeding and terrified at 27 weeks, no doctors or midwives would have been scheduled on purely to keep my baby alive. As a result of preventing me from bleeding to death, another patient was probably kept waiting for Elizabeth. 

Somebody's scheduled C-Section was probably held up whilst it was determined whether my 27 week old fetus needed to be delivered. No midwives would have been timetabled to stay at my bedside constantly to make sure things didn't go downhill.

When I was not holding it together, Eli probably didn't have the time to sit and answer a thousand of my irrational questions. Someone was probably rude to her as a result of being kept waiting because of me. Someone was kept waiting because my consultant was making the decision that delivering my baby was the safest way of making sure she survived.

Since talking to other people about my time in NHS, I have been inundated with stories of the same nature. My friend went for a scan on her twins to be told one had passed away. Her sonographer stayed with her for 45 minutes while she cried and waited to be told by a doctor what was going to happen. Her appointment would have been scheduled to be 15 minutes long.

A client of mine, who had lost a baby previously, told me how her community midwife cancelled everything when she went in to labor early when her husband was overseas with the military and had no-one there with her. When another friend was told she had cancer, her GP didn't tell her that her ten minutes was up and she needed to stop crying and leave his office so that his next patient wasn't kept waiting.

I am certainly no expert on the NHS, and I have no valid information when it comes to budget cuts. I know the increasing numbers of cuts are bad, and I know patients are missing out because of it. I know Jeremy Hunt is trying to blame much of the failings on all those 'lazy, greedy doctors'.

Whilst I know the latter to be mostly bollocks, I don't know enough about the goings on in UK hospitals to have any real opinion on any of that side of it. But what I do know is that when I and my tiny offspring needed them, they were there for us. Yes, there were times I was kept waiting. There were times I was told someone would be there in the morning and I didn't see them until the evening. But when we needed them, they were there. And as a result, my baby is here now and i will never stop being thankful for them.


So now, whenever I'm kept waiting, I hope to God that it’s because my doctor is off playing solitaire or washing his Mercedes. I hope that they're running late because they're surfing Facebook and drinking coffee.

The alternative – and let’s face it, the truth – is that someone needs them at that moment and they can't get away. The chances are they have to deal with something that they can't get away from and they can't just walk out of because they're running late.

They don't have the option to deal with it next week because they have better things to do right now. People's lives don't wait. How much more convenient is it to think, as my dear friend from the waiting room said, that those 'lazy, useless doctors' are wasting his time 'faffing about'.

I hope they are. If those doctors and nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are off wasting time doing paperwork and chatting, it means that they aren't helping another person who's life is falling apart, and that perhaps somewhere, someone like me is absolutely terrified and facing the possibility that they're about to lose their perfect little baby”.

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WeekendLife

YAMAS 2020 Go Virtual

14th September 2020
YAMAS 2020

After announcing the postponement in March, the 6th edition of Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAS) have bounced back and will be held virtually via Now Channel on DSTV Channel 290 and on the Yarona FM Facebook page on September 26 at 20h00.

This is one of the first virtual music awards to be held in Botswana.The 2020 edition of the YAMAS was originally slated to be held at the University of Botswana (UB) Campus Indoor Sport Centre early this year, but plans for an indoor ceremony were thrown for a loop by the coronavirus pandemic.

“There will be no public attendance at this year’s event, it will be produced for broadcast on TV and digital platforms. The event will take place in an extended reality studio which will comprise of the hosts only. The show must go on and we still have to award artist for their splendid job” said Yarona FM Station Manager Kelly Ramputswa.

Furthermore, Ramputswa stated that nothing much has changed apart from the awards ceremony going virtual, the voting lines for nominees remain the same. The voting lines opened on Tuesday 8th September and will close on 23rd September at midnight.Yarona FM has partnered with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) and First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) who contributed money to ensure that winners go home with cash prizes ranging from P10 000 and P15 000.

“We recognize the hardship that has befallen the creative industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Botswana’s creative sector remains resilient and Yarona FM, as a crucial player remains committed to contributing meaningfully to develop the sector.

The partnership to bring the YAMAS at this time, with cash winnings for musicians and other creatives involved in the show is demonstration that we are all in this together,” said the Yarona FM Station Manager.The effort of gifting artists with money is a big boost since most of them did not manage to source income from live performances due to COVID- 19 protocols that led to suspension of many events.

The 6th edition of the YAMAS will be hosted by Yarona FM presenters Loungo Andre Pitse and Kedi Molosiwa. There will be performances from artists such as ATI, Mophato Dance Theater, Girly and FME DJs.

 

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WeekendLife

Promoters demand re-opening of their sector

14th September 2020
Franco

The entertainment industry remains the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and some creatives cannot take the strain anymore.

Other sectors seem to be gradually re-opening and learning to live with the pandemic, the creative industry on the other hand is still closed with no hope for it opening any time soon. Government has seemingly turned a blind eye to the drowning industry.

Meanwhile other countries are coming up with strategic plans on how best their entertainment industries can be re-opened and how people can live with the pandemic without putting each other at risk. Promoters Association gathered to air out their concerns and lament on how much the government has side-lined them.

Government is still delaying to pay subsidies to the creatives. The Ministry of Youth currently claims to have paid a total sum of P19 404 180 to 340 youth businesses and 9090 creatives. The ministry further stated that they have 15 640 who were assessed and vetted and 12 391 were approved.

A further P 4 054 820 is yet to be paid during the ongoing payment process. However, the Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), are demanding that the ministry provides them proof of payment for those who were credited, instead of releasing statistics.

“We have contributed to the best of our ability even though other promoters were not paid. As for now that P7500 is not as important because people have life problems and commitments and they got tired of waiting for the money. We tried were we could as BEPA with MYSC,” said Gilbert Seagile, President of BEPA.

Some promoters however found themselves drowning during the pandemic with no life raft as life issues pile up without any source of income. “We had cases of depression. They came to our offices. We had cases were other promoters almost committed suicide due to lack of income,’’ said Seagile.

Promoters Association wishes to work on their own without relying on the government. They had however crafted a project dubbed ‘Project Tselapedi’, wherein they seek P20 million to fund annual events. The funds are to be disbursed pending on how much each project is worth. This in an effort to help the ministry and to relief problems.

“We believe the project can be financed because even today we do not know when the sector will be opened. We have solutions but we are never called when decisions are made. We are three months away from December without hosting any event. They keep postponing meetings every week. Our industry is dying and it is dying in their hands,” said Promoter Exotic.
“All sectors were met, the transport sector has been fully opened yet they are not adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

Which means we can also host events whilst adhering to covid-19 protocols. The creative industry contribute highly to the GDP. We are not happy and we are going to do everything. We are being colonized by the liquor Act. These two are different. This issue puts us at a disadvantage. The liquor Act has nothing to do with us,” said Seagile.

Former President of BEPA, Zenzel Hirschfield, has sternly lashed out at the government for side-lining promoters and denying them the one thing that buttered their bread.“We are tired of going to the offices without anything coming forth. We also have the expertise to sit down and advice. The reason why they are doing what they are doing is because they are feeling the heat like us. We are not going to remain silent.

We will not listen and sit down. We will continue to speak. And we need to speak to the relevant people which is our President. We are dying of hunger. We don’t trade with alcohol we trade with the arts,” she lamented.

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WeekendLife

Is Polygamy Ideal?

14th September 2020
Polygamy

POLYGAMIST: South African businessman Musa Mseleku and his four wives.

No one can be blamed for thinking that women have been failed in this country. The 2020 World Population Reviews has placed Botswana as the second out of 10 countries after neighbouring South Africa with the highest rape cases in the world.

According to World Population Review, Botswana has 92.9 percent incidents per 100,000 people. The statistics are spine chilling and would prompt any country to act fast and put measures in place to reduce the numbers and keep save the most vulnerable; women and children.

In view of this ignominy, policy-makers would respond by putting in necessary legislations to address the crisis. However, it turns out such a belief is only presumptions. Even female MPs have not proved indifferent to the pleas of those who are at the receiving end, a disappointing gesture on their part.

Recently, Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East, Yandani Boko tabled a motion in parliament on urgent basis in which he requested President Mokgweetsi Masisi to set-up a Commission of Inquiry on GBV and other sexual offenses.The motion was infamously opposed by Anna Mokgethi, the minister responsible for gender affairs, disputing its urgency.

Incidentally, not long ago, Mokgethi went on record and sought help from President Masisi, seeking protection from her husband, citing that she fears for her life.Despite refusing to support the motion when it was tabled later, Mokgethi has been taking part in campaigns against GBV on social media.

If that was not enough, this week another female MP took it to another level. Beauty Manake, a Specially Elected MP is of the firm belief that polygamy can be a solution to GBV. It begs the question; how does having many wives solve GBV? If anything it may very well lead to a spike in the number of cases.

These remarks have left many women very much disenchanted on the idea, arguing that they are misrepresented and disappointed that the remarks were made by another woman.WeekendLife has taken it to the relevant people to find whether polygamy is really what we need to curb Gender Based Violence.

“Such a law disadvantages women as they are seldom involved in the decision to invite another women into their marriage. It is of course, highly discriminatory and should not be entertained. It will not work especially given the many social ills that lead to Gender Based Violence. Many domestic disputes are centered around adultery.

Legalising polygamy would lead to a conflict in homes and of laws in which an aggrieved spouse can sue for adultery, but the law in question would allow men to court other women during marriage,” Precious Gondwe, President of Pan African Game Changers and the founding Partner of Precious & Partner Law Firm.

“How will the rights of the first wife be protected? People are already killing each other as they cannot handle sharing their spouse. Couples fight about the presence of a third party in their marriage. Therefore officialising something that is not right, won’t make it morally right. It will only continue to repress women further and breakdown the family.

Once the family is broken then the very essence of society will be broken.””Legalising such a social ill would not make it morally correct. What does that mean to us as Batswana with the high rate of HIV and other social ills? This does not cure any of the social ills related to GBV. It is retrogressive in nature would be a proponent of GBV.

Surely in 2020 that is unacceptable. You cannot solve this by bringing in another predicament. As a woman and a Batswana, I am deeply concerned as to why that issue should be raised. We are adding more injury to the wound. I vehemently disagree with what the minister raised. We can’t legalize a problem!”

Polygamy in an era faced with Covid-19 and the repercussions of it is tantamount to economic suicide. Women no longer submit to men as easily, they understand the importance of independence and building legacies and protecting their wellbeing and that of their children. They understand that their lives are not centred around a man.

Social Activist Gaontebale Omphemetse Mmolai strongly believes polygamy will only regress women.“I am against polygamy because looking at the things we normally complain about, be it finances, children’s welfare, family relations and all, I believe that if we legalise polygamy in Botswana it will be a way of advocating for an increase in women’s problems.

Men will be given more power to oppress and abuse women in all different ways,” she said.“So imagine if you are stuck in that kind of a relationship or a marriage. Then both of you are being abused and the situation is worsened. So legalizing polygamy is a way of making an excuse for men. It will never be an alternative to solve GBV issues in our country. I am against the idea.”

The church however believes that in as much as there was polygamy in the Bible, God was clear that a man shall leave his family to be joined to his wife and not wives. They are of the belief that, there is no room for polygamy in the body of Christ and hence people should be inspired by the truth of God regarding marriage.

“The fact that there was polygamy in the bible does not mean that God approved of the practice. When we come under the new dispensation, we are under the New Testament. In 1Timothy 3 v 2 & 12, Titus 1 v 16, which explains that good leadership comes with a man having only one wife. In this portion of scripture, it was referred to church leaders and pastors,” Boago Ramogapi, Royal Assembly Ministries Pastor highlighted to WeekendLife.

“The reason why it was so, it was because they were the example of the Godly life. So that what we see in them becomes an example of what we are supposed to have in our personal lives. A man with one wife meant the congregation of the society must also follow an example of being joined to one wife. We are of the belief that one man one wife.”

As GBV persists, he has admitted that it has even entered church doors and that they are affected as much. Many people within church indoors are victims of rape and violence. “When it comes to GBV and polygamy being used to curb GBV I don’t think it will work. We just need behavioural change. The stance is that we need to permeate all the spheres so that men can rise to the occasion. And much more importantly I wish to see more men standing against it,” he said.

“We need to rise up to the occasion because GBV have also permeated church walls, because church members are sometimes abused sexually in the church. We need to reach out to men, we have done well with the girl child. It is now time to empower the boy child.”

 

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