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It is no secret that Botswana is one of the top countries in the world with high Tuberculosis (TB) incidence, despite TB being both preventable and curable. This is partly because of the high HIV prevalence and other factors that help in fuelling the infection.
Currently the TB notification rate is at about 414 per 100,000 people in Botswana. Fortunately, Botswana continues to enjoy the global support from both international Governments and NGO partners in fighting the TB (and HIV) co-pandemics.
Locally, Ministry of Health through the Botswana National TB Programme (BNTP) is dedicated in directing collaborative efforts of fighting TB (and HIV) hence reducing their morbidity and mortality. BNTP is in keep with both national policies and targets and WHO standards;
TB/HIV Policy Framework
guides the integration of TB/HIV treatment
Emphasises the desire to have a healthy nation by the year 2016 and beyond
Practicing Direct Observation Therapy (DOT)
Most effective for TB treatment as per WHO guidelines
United Nations Millennium Development goals
Botswana was among 147 UN member states that committed to pursuing the MDGs by 2015, among them Goal 6: ‘Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases including TB’. A tremendous progress has been made so far
Challenges in addressing the fight against TB
Botswana has high HIV prevalence rate which is the main driver of the TB pandemic (About 63% of people diagnosed with TB are co-infected with HIV) which is why efforts are being channelled towards integrating the two conditions in the fight.
Naturally, detection of TB in people living with HIV is difficult (low immune system may not allow HIV patients to be able to mount TB symptoms and signs).
Poor Infection Control – in our health facilities and other community places.
Stigma – the nature of the infection or the misconceptions surrounding the infection (especially in our African communities) play a big role in making people reluctant to get screened for TB, even in cases where people have clear symptoms and signs of TB.
Illiteracy – Inadequate information on TB, HIV and AIDS and preventative measures in Botswana especially at the rural/far-to reach areas (compared to the Western world) continues to make our communities vulnerable to getting infected by TB.
High defaulting Rates and Poor Contact tracing- Batswana are a very mobile population with people having at least three places where they reside seasonally (Home village, city, moraka, masimo), which makes it difficult for health care workers to make thorough follow up on the patients or their contacts.
Drug-drug interactions – Medications for HIV and TB taken at the same time may lower the efficacy of each other or increase the toxicity levels of the drugs in the body.
Drug Resistant TB – Adherence to treatment remains the highest challenge for the country when dealing with TB matters. A combination of reasons, others mentioned above encourages this. Poor adherence almost always leads to the development of drug resistant TB which is very difficult, expensive and long to treat. About 100 new cases of Drug resistant TB are recorded every year in Botswana.
What to do at individual level
There is no doubt that Botswana as a country, is enjoying all the international support it can get (both financial and otherwise) and is trying by all means to keep up with good international standards when dealing with issues of TB.
What is still lacking is commitment from the grassroots, where TB is mainly rampant. Individuals still do not understand the implication of one contracting TB or spreading it, as a major contribution towards the national pandemic. It does not end with that individual! What about their family? Work colleagues? People they travel with on public transport?
TB is a public health concern. So apart from worrying about oneself when it gets to screening for TB, individuals should not be selfish and think about the next person. Failure to honour TB treatment and preventative measures (like wearing masks) can land one in prison (involuntary incarceration) in order to save the public.
Employers should understand this, Bus drivers, teachers at school and all other people in power that may act towards hindering access to health care. We should ‘Doctor’ our family members and encourage them to seek medical help when we can clearly see they are not well. This is not to be used to mock but rather to help that individual and the people around them.
Fastjet Zimbabwe, the award-winning value-based airline, this week announced that effective Thursday, 30 June 2022, the airline will introduce a new service between Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Maun in Botswana.
The new route is scheduled to operate four (4) times a week on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fastjet will operate the route using a 50-seater Embraer ERJ145 aircraft. This aircraft choice is known to provide the versatility to build a sustainable regional network with the right-size capacity while offering customers comfortable seating with generous legroom.
Fastjet Zimbabwe spokesperson, Nunurai Ndawana, said, “The airline is thrilled to introduce direct flights from Victoria Falls to Maun. Using our Embraer ERJ145 aircraft, we believe this route will facilitate more travel between these two tourism capitals of Zimbabwe and Botswana. This route has for many years been only available by private charter.
So, with the introduction of this direct connection, we believe it will be able to spur tourism development and growth in the region”. Fastjet Group Chief Operating Officer, Donahue Cortes commented, “The Victoria Falls – Maun flight is the second new route being added onto the fastjet regional network, with flights between Victoria Falls and Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga planned to launch ahead of the Easter travel period.
Despite the hard-wearing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group remains dedicated to the recovery and growth of tourism in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, and to bringing further connectivity to the region”. The new route will operate 4 times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday connecting two of Southern Africa’s most iconic tourist destinations.
Botswana has been approached to host the 73rd Miss World, expected in 2024. During the appreciation event for Miss Botswana, Palesa Molefe, by Southern Epic Cycling Challenge in collaboration with The High Commission of India, Miss Botswana Management Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Benjamin Raletsatsi, confirmed that they have been approached by Miss World to host 73rd Miss World.
Speaking at the same arena, Raletsatsi highlighted that it has been his dream to host Miss World in Botswana. “Miss Botswana is one of the difficult projects to run. There are days I just wake up and ask myself why I am doing what I am doing because everything about me from integrity is often times torn apart.
Then Palesa came along and validated and confirmed that what I am doing is right because it is setting an opportunity for young girls in this country to have an opportunity to express themselves. Four years ago, when I took over Miss Botswana I had a vision, in my vision I wanted the first year to just be us participating in Miss World, second year was for us to participate and ask Miss World to allow us to host Miss World in Botswana, and the third year was for us to elevate ourselves as a country; whilst in year four we wanted to win Miss World.
We could have won Miss World in our third year of office with Palesa, but unfortunately COVID-19 happened. The idea is that this coming year as Palesa will be handing over her Miss Botswana tittle, she will be there to guide the next Miss Botswana on how to prepare for Miss World.”
Raletsatsi pointed out that the reality that Palesa did not win Miss World does not mean she did not do well. “She did exceptionally well”. He said at the end of Miss World there were ten pictures of Miss World participants who had a huge impact auctioned, and out of ten pictures two of those pictures were of Palesa.
The Miss Botswana management CEO highlighted that after the Miss World competition, Miss World responded to their request to host the 73rd Miss World. “They responded and said we can host 73rd Miss World if we are still interested in hosting it.
The current Miss World will be the 71st this year and then followed by the 72nd which is next year and the 73rd which will be in 2024 which has been offered to Botswana. The bigger challenge for me now is how I will be able to convince Batswana to bring Miss World to Botswana.
The honest truth is that Palesa has done her part as a change agent, it is up to us to do our part as Batswana to ensure that Miss World comes to Botswana and is a success. I was joking with one of my friends the other day to say, what Palesa has achieved in one year can take some companies, three to four years to achieve.”
You choose a path to be better or bitter, why do you have to expose a person, what do you gain from that? We react rather than become proactive. Mothers need help! Some said as social media turned into a battlefield this past Father’s Day.
Baby mamas came all guns blazing, ventilating their frustrations against absent baby daddies through social media posts. “As for me I feel women will be applying a hurting heart or she is bitter to expose baby daddy.
There are channels one can follow to solve this issues rather than rushing to Facebook and exposing them, it’s reacting rather than solving the reality of the problem, it won’t help you, after all what will Facebook do to you? Would it give you the food, would it make the father to support the child, but there are channels one can follow like one can consult with the laws then this man will know the right thing to do”, said Obonye Obza Thapelo who is baby daddy of two daughters.
Thapelo further argued that if you seek for definition you will lose a father, “we have our fathers, it’s not about the responsibility, if we are talking about a father on happy father’s day don’t talk about the definition, talk about father’s day, it never say define or describe whose a father.
When you come back to family, we have family dynamics, family faults and family failures, so if you have family failures, for example, if I have been taking care of the child while we were together and it happens we break up and I stop taking care of the child, are you not going to call me a father just because of my failures?”
“If we are going to look for the faults we won’t be building fathers that we want. “It says happy father’s day, it ends there, and it’s not about the responsibilities. A responsible father depends on one, I can be a fathers because I am your mentor, I can be a father that am not supporting financially but I can just call and check on my child, I can be father that have money but still fails to support but am there physically but not economically, am there emotionally but still am a father.”
“Speaking from experience, my baby daddy have never been there in my kids life so in my own opinion I think happy father’s day means to acknowledge fathers who are present in their children lives, man who are there for their children, I don’t mean for the mothers, am saying their children.”, Norah Moloi mother of three cried.
“Women are reactive to this issues because it hurts to be left alone with children. Seeing other women praising their baby daddies and as for us not even knowing what to say to our children, they don’t even know if this day do exist hurts. I grew up without a father too, I didn’t even had a privilege to wish him that, even happy birthday to him too. I think this now seem like a trend, it’s like a culture now because it’s like everyone is abandoning their children,” Moloi explained.
“There is co-parenting, I mean if you have problem with me exclude the child from our problems. For us to have a healthy children who are mentally fit we ought to be in the same page. Let us hide our problems from our children. When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, that is why you saw on social media even kids venting out about their absent fathers.
“As for fathers who are not in their children’s life why should we wish them father’s day? It is like throwing a seed on rocks and expect it to germinate without proper soil, proper sunlight or even without water and expect to reap at the end of the day.
Do you expect such a planter to be praised that they have sowed anything? You are a planter yes but where is your seedlings, you just threw a seed and abandon it, as for me is a big NO! There is a mistake that men turn to make, they think children cannot see all the struggles mother goes through trying to made ends meets for them and later blame it on baby mamas for using children when tables turns.
“Ask yourself, are we to wish man who denied pregnancy father’s day? What of those who long abandoned their children? What is there to be wished? What is supposed to be happy about the day? We are not bitter, we are asking them to put themselves in our shoes,” Moloi expressed herself.
Adding on Calvin G Zacharia father of one daughter says that was a cry for help to single mothers, he said men who are not there for their children don’t deserve to be wished father’s day since they are not playing their role.
Zacharia urged mothers to involve the authority, “there is no use to pass remarks on social media without taking action. If the parents had messy break up they should find a common ground for the sake of their child/children”. It depresses the kids not having another party not playing the role on their lives.
“I think ladies are bitter, just because some man don’t give us money we start labelling them as deadbeat”, Boitshepho Gasefiwe mother of one. Men have their reasons for not being there for their children. There is always two sides of stories. Some kids I saw on Facebook I feel meddle in elder people’s issues without knowing the facts.
When giving his views, Thando Morgan, father of one daughter highlighted that he feels it depends on someone’s emotional intelligence, some act according to how their baby daddy treated them. “Baby mamas know their baby daddies better to find fit worthy a father title, some are venting out because they suffer alone in raising the kids alone.