Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) on 24 February 2015 launched yet another innovation under their mobile health innovation competition, Mhealth.
Mhealth refers to the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices to provide health services and information. The field mostly emerges as a means of providing greater access to segments of a population in developing countries, as well as improving the capacity of health systems in such countries to provide quality healthcare.
Nonetheless African countries such as Rwanda and Kenya have taken tremendous strides in the utilizing the MHealth platform and are sharing with the world the impact of such mobile technology.
While giving his welcome remarks during the launch Dr Kabelo Mokgacha from the Ministry of Health said the global scale innovators are developing life changing applications that one from his generation could have never imagined such as a mobile tool that would help doctors determine the right amount of insulin to give a diabetic patient as well as a mobile tool that links expectant mothers to gestation age-specific pregnancy information.
He said as the Ministry of Health, they realize this is an important step aimed at bringing together the different stakeholders active in the health landscape in Botswana and appealing to the youth to bring forth their creative abilities in nurturing an opportunity in mobile Health.
He said as the department responsible for monitoring “all things data” in the Botswana health system they fully maintain their role in this collaborative effort and encourage youth to come up with sustainable and rigorous technologies in this arena.
The initiative that was launched 3 years ago is seen as contributing towards the transformation of a mineral based economy to a knowledge based economy. The 2013 MHealth award recipients Derrick Khupe and Billy Batlegang presented their Mobile Text which they referred to as a simple proto- type system which was developed in Java.
According to the duo, through their innovation, expecting mothers could register and keep on receiving messages updating them on their pregnancy on their mobile phones. They are currently partnering with Orange Botswana to pilot the project.
The 2014 winners Team Black Oak developed a data base system which will keep patients’ medical history. According to this team of three ladies the system will help in situations where a patient is unconscious and doctors need their medical history, saying it could help for problems such as allergies.
The project known as Poloko was given thumbs up by the Ministry of Health and assured the developers that they would work with them since they were also engaged in a project similar to that one at the Ministry.
Orange Botswana’s Director of Corporate Affairs Lepata Mafa, said they have been part of this initiative since inception in 2013, their main aim with all partners is to leverage on mobile penetration to support the public health care system. “Orange strongly believers in using ICT for sustainable development, as a mobile and technology provider, they believe that technology is a critical element of social development,” Mafa said.
As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy which seeks to promote sustainable development Orange currently has an on-going mobile health or Telemedicine project with the Ministry of Health known as Kgonafalo. This is a mobile diagnostic platform which is currently used for cervical cancer screening, dermatology and Oral diseases diagnosis and radiology.
Nurses in remote areas are able to communicate with health specialists in towns, who then assist the nurses to give a quick diagnosis of the patient’s ailment. This saves time for patients as they avoid travelling to main towns to consult the specialists.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.