Ministry of Health is sitting on a time ticking bomb as the country’s hospitals have run out of critical drugs, putting thousands of lives countrywide at risk as perennial inefficiencies at the Central Medical Stores continue.
Weekend Post has established that patients countrywide have been told that there are no drugs but they should keep on checking as the public health facilities awaits the CMS procure drugs. Affected patients have diverse medical conditions such as hypertension (High Blood Pressure), hypotension (Low Blood Pressure), among others. Also not available in hospitals is a host of drugs for children including vaccines.
Because of the nature of its role, CMS is expected to accurately forecast the medical and pharmaceutical needs of the nation and procure supplies in a timely manner and efficiently distribute them to health care institutions, in order to meet the needs of the patients and to monitor the utilisation of these supplies in order to ensure the cost effectiveness of the process.
CMS is often criticized for poor performance when it comes to procurement, financial and logistical management, and storage of drugs. In the past CMS has experienced situations where by drugs reach their expiry date before dispatch therefore forcing an offload.
Despite the inefficiency associated with CMS, government has over the years been reluctant to implement alternative solutions aimed at improving the performance of the drug hub. Some of these include introducing autonomy, exposing them to the market and providing oversight that will hold them accountable for their performance.
In 2007, following the recommendation from Crown Agents, an international consultancy company, the Ministry of Health (MoH) opted to utilise the USAID awarded SCMS (Supply Chain Management System) programme to help transform Botswana's CMS into a world-class distributor of health commodities to Botswana's public health system. This included 700 health facilities across the country. Crown Agents was then engaged as the subcontractor responsible for managing the SCMS Botswana country office for PFSCM, the awardee of the SCMS contract.
The Ministry of Health along with PFSCM mobilised a senior management team who assumed responsibility for CMS operations for three years. In addition to management of the supply chain, the six member team, which included Crown Agents employees, put in place rigorous human and institutional capacity building initiatives to improve all managerial, operational, and administrative practices. Focal areas included human resource management, performance and information sharing, procurement management, warehousing and distribution, and quality management systems.
The changes whose implementation period was in 2009 were expected to be completed within two years. The handover was planned for mid-2012 but the Ministry of Health could not meet the deadline and the strategy was adjusted so that SCMS continue to manage and build capacity of a local team before returning management to the government.
One of the recommendations and objectives of the new model alternative to the one which was used by CMS was to focus on two main areas; 97 percent availability, 3 percent or less of procurement value for wastage due to expiry. These were to be achieved through internal processes and measurements in each department to ensure that all performance targets the same goals.
At the time of going to press the Central Medical Stores public relations department could not respond to this publication’s questionnaire subject to the approval of the Ministry of Health first. Weekend Post had sought to establish factors which could have led to the current crisis and the implementation of USAID strategy in general.
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.
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.
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.