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Malaria infection season begins next Month – MoH warns

Govt plans to eradicate Malaria transmissions in 2018

For the first time in history, the Botswana government has succeeded in getting a global fund towards the fight of Malaria disease, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has revealed.

Starting from next Month, the country would be receiving instalments of part of the 5 Million United States Dollars grant towards the combat of the spread of the disease during the next rainy season that begins in two weeks time.

According to the Chief Public health Officer in the Ministry, T Mosweunyane, incidents of Malaria becomes more prone during the rainy season which begins in October to May every year. However she says cases of Malaria become more significant around January with a peak usually appearing from mid February to March.

“Transmissions start in rain seasons. As we approach the Month of October it is very important that people take care when they visit Malaria prone areas,” Mosweunyane advised.

The Malaria virus carrying mosquitoes are concentrated in the Chobe and Ngamiland districts due to the abundant water sources in the areas. Mosweunyane however explains that there are significant variations in levels of transmission within each transmission belts because during years of high transmission, the belt moves southwards.

“In the past Botswana experienced intermittent epidemics as a result of variation in rainfall levels over the years. Major epidemics occurred in 1988, 1993, 1996 and 1997 resulting in significant loss of lives and since then we have had localised epidemics in some districts with less devastating effects,” she further explained.

However she says the country has so far been able to significantly reduce the disease incidents to date. But despite the said achievement the country would not have reached Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goal by the end of this year because it has not been able to halt malaria transmission in its red belt zones. In a 2007 resolution, the World Health Assembly called for a 75% reduction in the global malaria burden by 2015.

The recommended strategies to tackle malaria included,  prevention with long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying, diagnostic testing and treatment with quality-assured anti-malarial medicines, preventive therapies for infants, children and pregnant women, tracking every malaria case in a surveillance system and scaling up the fight against emerging drug and insecticide resistance.

However the MoH insists that with the help of the global fund, it would have reached the set target by 2018.

Some of its intended strategies include strengthening existing cross-border collaboration and establishment of additional initiatives between front-line and second-line countries.

The Ministry says eradicating the spread of the disease would continue to be a challenge as long as the public is not practising safety measures when they travel to Malaria prone areas including countries with high transmission such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mosweunyane gave an example of a recent incident that occurred after a certain church travelled to Malawi without proper immunisation which led to reported cases on the diseases in the further south parts of the country such as Kanye.
“Zimbabwe carries most of our imported cases. Some cases are carried from Zambia and Malawi,” Mosweunyane further explained.

As the country embarks on the fight against the disease it continues to lose lives of its citizens to the disease. In 2014, twenty-two (22) deaths were reported of who some were children under the age of 5.

Meanwhile it is estimated that 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk of contracting malaria. In 2013, an estimated 198 million cases occurred, and the disease killed approximately 584 000 people, most of them children under five in Africa. On average, malaria kills a child every minute.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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