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Batswana decry ill treatment despite Govt intervention

Despite government’s intervention to relocate some people who underwent mandatory 14 day quarantine, some people are still decrying ill-treatment at the hands of government officials.

Threats by law enforcement officials, poor health facilities, appalling conditions and lack of food are some of the grievances advanced by some within the quarantine centres. Some of the people who spoke to WeekendPost on condition of anonymity who were coming back into the country from Zambia said on Thursday afternoon, said there was still no accommodation, and they were crowded at one place.

“If any virus infection is to break out, this will be the end of us. The hospital does not even have buckets to wash people’s hands in as they go in, the sanitizer is only sprayed when the patient gets to see the nurse as there is not enough,” he said. In an interview with WeekendPost some travellers said the conditions at their designated quarantine posts are not conducive for their health conditions.

“This is a clear indication that there had not been adequate preparations thus posing a danger health-wise and exposes patients to other infections other than COVID-19. We as a country are not ready for this catastrophe and our unpreparedness might exacerbate catastrophic outcomes we never bargained for,” said one of them.   Some of the travellers, who are mostly pensioners said they had gone to South Africa for their routine medical check- ups.

They said their health is being compromised since they have no access to medical centres while others who are students said they are in the middle of examinations but have no access to internet services. On Wednesday night an official at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Lebabotswe Tlale revealed that the government is in talks with business people in the hospitality industry to assist in hosting Batswana under quarantine.

Tlale admitted that the conditions are not as good as expected since everything was happening very fast.  “It was a learning curve and we urge the nation to be patient as we roll out this strategy. It is our hope that we will finalize our talks with the business community so that some if not all may be relocated to better facilities,” Tlale stated. He further revealed that, “some businessmen are willing to volunteer their services free of charge while some have requested minor assistance here and there.”

On the 24th March 2020 the government of Botswana announced that there will be mandatory quarantine for travellers. To further strengthen the COVID-19 prevention measures, all people coming from the Republic of South Africa through the Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Pioneer Gate, Tlokweng borders and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days at facilities that have been identified.

This decision was taken in light of how the Republic of Botswana is affected by COVID-19 and has sustained local transmission. The objective of this mandatory quarantine is to minimize the introduction, transmission and the spread of COVID- 19 in Botswana. Only Batswana and Botswana residents will be allowed into the country during this period. Anyone refusing mandatory quarantine will be liable to a fine as per Section 25 of the Health Act of 2013.

On the 25th of March 2020, Kristin Carr- Hartley quarantined in Lobatse Institute of Health Services (HIS) filed an urgent application with Lobatse High Court to challenge the state of the centre and poor conditions. However, the high court ruled that The Ministry of Health and Wellness and/or Government of Botswana without undue delay, is to provide segregated, sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper infection control and protection to Kristin Carr- Hartley and also all others in quarantine during the period that they are required to be under quarantine.

The court also ordered that the Ministry of Health and Wellness and/ or Government of Botswana is to provide means and sustenance to the said Kristin Carr- Hartley and all others in quarantine according to reasonable dietary requirements under the circumstances. Masa Hotel in Gaborone, is one of the places where some of the travellers were already quarantined, Oasis Motel in Tlokweng as well as Manong Game Lodge are reported to have pledged to help Botswana government in these trying times. As at Thursday 26th March 2020, no cases of COVID-19 was confirmed in Botswana.


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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