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Govt 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 Africas continental platform MTN, which is a leading mobile network, has donated a total of US$ 25 million worth of vaccines to support African Unions (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.

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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