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Why Blood Transfusion Centre sells blood to private hospitals

Make the blood affordable to private patients

The National Blood Transfusion Centre has explained that the decision to supply local private hospitals with blood is cost measure to avoid a situation where the hospitals will be forced to charge patients exorbitant prices if the blood is imported from neighbouring South Africa.

The two leading private hospitals Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) and Bokamoso Private Hospital are now getting blood supply from the National Blood Transfusion Centre and so far the demand from the two hospitals and government owned have been met.

However, the have been outcry from the public accessing private health facilities in regard to paying for blood transfusion when the blood is obtained freely from the donors. Blood is collected for free from voluntary donors but NBTC has explained that only government owned gets the blood for free while a levy is imposed on private hospitals.

Principal Recruitment Officer Joseph Moatshe told this publication this week that, although they are supplying private hospitals with blood at certain price that should not be translated as selling as such noting that it is an imposed levy since the private hospitals also charge patients in the event that they need blood.

Moatshe says blood is offered to private hospitals at a reasonable amount to encourage them to procure blood locally, without having to go to South Africa where they will be offered at higher prices, therefore imposing even higher charges for their clients when they need blood.

Currently National Blood Transfusion charges the two hospitals P900 per a bag of 450ml of blood. A private hospital like Bokamoso charges its patients at least P2500 per litre for blood transfusion. On average NBTC supplies between 600-800 bags of 450ml blood to private hospitals in Botswana.

Although there have been concerns that the blood units that the country needs have not been met, the country has never run out of blood at any given point. Botswana needs 400 000 units of blood every year and currently Botswana collects 22 000 units of blood annually. “The good thing is that blood is readily available in times of need and we have never run out of blood, although we still need more units of blood to be readily available,” says Moatshe.

Moatshe revealed that the demand for blood picks up during festive seasons mainly as a result of car accidents which in most cases, patients lose blood and as such pecking up the demand for blood. It is also during the festive that their supply is at its lowest since the biggest bloc of blood donors are students. “From the blood that we collect countrywide 60% is from students in tertiary and secondary schools,” Moatshe said.

In Botswana blood is required mainly for patients undergoing certain surgeries, victims of road traffic accidents, mothers who lose blood during delivery, cancer patients, bleeding disorders, burns patients and anaemic patients. Since inception, donation of blood has been has been voluntary for people aged between 16 – 65 years in healthy condition. However it is the younger generation which proves to be best donors since most of the time, older general is faced with many health challenges.  

Donated blood is subjected to processing after it is collected, to make it suitable for use in specific patient populations. Collected blood is then separated into blood components by centrifugation: red blood cells, plasma, platelets, albumin protein, clotting factor concentrates, cryoprecipitate, fibrinogen concentrate, and immunoglobulins.

Usually the National Blood Transfusion Centre removes plasma from the blood since it is where most diseases are found. The Centre also revealed that most patients in Botswana require blood in form of Red Blood cells. All donated blood is tested for infections. The current protocol tests donated blood for HIV-1, HIV-2, HTLV-1, HTLV-2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.

The Ministry of Health has also embarked on a campaign called Pledge 25 Club, a club for young blood donors that promote the value of donating blood to save lives. Through the initiative, young blood donors pledge to donate at least 25 times in their life-time.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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