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Gov’t pays P100 million to procure COVID-19 vaccines


In a response to combat and reduce the ravaging effects of Covid-19, which continues to claim lives and paralyse economic activities, government has moved to procure Covid-19 vaccines at a cost of approximately US$ 10 million.

When giving an update on Thursday, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Edwin Dikoloti said as part of their broader strategy of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, government has embarked on an initiative to acquire, and quickly deploy safe and secure vaccines for citizens and residents of Botswana.

Dr Dikoloti further alluded that Africa’s continental platform MTN, which is a leading mobile network, has donated a total of US$ 25 million worth of vaccines to support African Union’s (AU) Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“The donation will help secure up to seven (7) million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which are intended to cater for frontline workers across the continent. As part of the AU, Botswana stands to benefit from these,” he said on national television.

“This program is in line with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Expanded Program on immunisation; as well as the Public Health Act 2014, regarding the Prevention of the Spread of immunisable Diseases and their Re-emergence.” Minister Dikoloti continued to say they have identified different platforms in which government secured enough doses to cover frontline workers through COVAX facility.

In terms of the law and policy, Dr Dikoloti said coordination structures have been set up to ensure the ethical, equitable and timely distribution of the vaccine across the country; in order to reach the citizens as they aim to reach the entire population.

“Administration of vaccines will be done in phases, the initial phase will however focus on the health system strengthening and economic activity revival. This consideration requires that there be prioritization of key populations such as health care workers and those that participate in essential service,” he commented. “The idea is to reach these first so that they can then be ready to spread around the country and attend to the rest of the population.”

Dr Dikoloti said the main goal of the Covid-19 vaccine deployment and vaccination plan is to save lives and mitigate the societal and economic impact by reducing transmission and mortality due to the viral infections. He went on to categorically state that: “In order to successfully reduce disease transmission and contain the pandemic, it will be imperative to ensure that the entire eligible population is vaccinated against the pandemic.”

Meanwhile in a simple trend analysis, since Independence holidays, just few weeks after the last lockdown, Covid-19 infections soared on the 11th October 2020 recording a startling 1328 cases.
Amid reports of a new variant of Covid-19 virus in neighbouring South Africa, on the 3rd of December 2020, around 789 new cases were recorded. Government moved to impose, for the first time a curfew on the 24 of December but cases continued to rise.

However, curfews have proven to not be enough for the containment of Covid-19, as numbers keep on rising. According to a case report of 1st February 2021 from the task force team chaired by President Masisi, 163 people have succumbed to coronavirus with 21 273 confirmed cases while the recovery rate stood at 19574 since the outbreak in March last year.

Botswana has conducted 692 131 tests, of which 531 071 were local tests while boarder tests stood at 161 060 with 2 230 transferred out. Meanwhile South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, welcomed their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine last week Monday. Ramaphosa said it was a chance to “turn the tide” on a disease that has devastated the country.

“Once testing of the batches is completed, the first shots will be given to health workers, who have been stretched during a second wave of infections and have been critical of the government for not securing supplies sooner,” said Ramaphosa when addressing the nation last week Monday. South Africa has recorded the most COVID-19 infections and deaths on the African continent, at more than 1.47 million cases and over 45,000 deaths while recoveries stand at 1.33 million to date.


Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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