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Boitekanelo College: driving Botswana health education


The coming into being of Boitekanelo College, the only private healthcare training institution in the country, is a remarkable story of grits and a burning ambition to see a vision come to fruition. Boitekanelo is one of the home grown concepts that have become regional and international players, in the development of human capital in the healthcare space.

Having identified that Government cannot bear the responsibility of healthcare training all by itself, one Dr Tiroyaone Mampane set out to build a training institute that is set to make Botswana a regional hub for healthcare training.

“Governments around the world, ours included, have come to realize that  healthcare training can not be left as the responsibility of Government alone,” said Ketlogetswe Montshiwa, Director-Strategy and Institutional Planning at Boitekanelo, during an interview with WeekendPost this week.

In his early thirties, the founder, president and managing director of Boitekanelo, Dr Tiroyaone Mampane, is said to have opted mostly for night duty, while he was within the public service. This was so that he could, during the day, run around with the very tedious tasks of setting up the institute. Close to eight years now, Boitekanelo College has been in operation, having moved into a multi million pula state of the art facility in Tlokweng.

As a strategy to enter the market, the College offered quality healthcare related programmes that were not offered by the mainstream public institutions, the Institutes of Health Sciences. This has since helped to place Boitekanelo among the premier health care training institutions not only in Botswana, but in the region. Dr Mampane did not aim to realize this vision alone,  he roped in those who believed in it and they assisted him to turn his dream into reality.

Ms Montshiwa told this publication that: “Governance structures were put in place from the very beginning and that, together with leadership by an entrepreneur and highly qualified staff, is the secret to the success of Boitekanelo College. We have a board of governors comprising of high caliber individuals who are leading in the various fields of finance, legal, medicine and human resources.  The academic council oversees issues of quality and standards. We have , an in house quality assurance manager and a curriculum development specialist, something that is international best practice.”

“Being a private institution  is an added advantage because we have flexibility that allows us to quickly respond to market needs unlike Government where new ideas have to be taken through lengthy decision making and budget processes.”

She added that: “Short term programmes and attracting full time studenst from abroad are the key to the future sustainability for the College; we aim to run Boitekanelo as a business and we want to avoid a situation where we are affected if the level of government sponsored students declines significantly.”

Montshiwa said that the College has various international partnerships with eminent institutions such as Duke University in the United States, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and The  Cape Peninsula University of Technology which has helped to develop the emergency care programmes for Boitenakelo as well as the Swaziland Ministry of Health, to name a few.

“We have a regional footprint and we have attracted students from as far as Nigeria, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.”

Currently operating on two Campuses; Tlokweng and Mogoditshane the College is on course to complete a school of nursing later this year, and anticipates that it will start training nurses from January 2016. This will bring the intake of student to well over 3000 from the current 2800.

Boitekanelo sets the bar high, offering a diploma in Clinical Technology, a program not widely offered even in South Africa where only 3 universities have it. A qualified Clinical Technologist would be specialized in one of seven specialization areas: Cardiology, pulmonology, critical care, nephrology, reproductive biology, perfusion, and neurophysiology. Clinical Technology graduates would be almost guaranteed employment in this very difficult economic climate. The story of Boitekanelo College is highly inspirational.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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