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COVID-19 Positive blood safe for patients

Subsequent to the Ministry of Health and Wellness press release on having received reports of unfortunate events in which two elderly clients were reported to have died in or around the time they were inoculated with COVISHIELD.

There has been panic in the public raising questions on whether blood donated by a vaccinated individual has a causal link of blood clots in blood recipients. Dithapelo Keorapetse, Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West tabled a question in Parliament asking the Minister of Health and Wellness to update the House on blood and its products donations and COVID-19, particularly whether the screening checks COVID-19 antibodies, whether the blood that tested positive can be used on patients and whether blood from donors who have taken a COVID-19 vaccine will be accepted.

The Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Setlhomo Lelatisitswe revealed that the safety of donated blood and blood products is a critical part in the health care delivery value chain and a priority area in the process of providing safe and secure services adding that the ministry has a strategy to assure blood safety that entails: educating the general public on the importance of safe and voluntary blood donation for all needy patients, a selection of donors who meet eligibility criteria and testing of all donated blood for transmissible infections.

When addressing the questions before him Assistant Minister Lelatisitswe jogged the memory of Members of Parliament on COVID-19, highlighting that it must be understood that COVID-19 is a respiratory tract infection and in terms of advisory from World Health Organization (WHO) there is no information or documentation linking the transmission of COVID with blood transfusion. Therefore the Ministry of Health does not test or screen donors for COVID 19 antibodies. Because there is no testing for COVID 19 antibodies the aspect of whether the blood which has tested corona positive can be used on patients is not applicable.

Minister Lelatisitswe on blood donors who have been vaccinated underscored that blood from donors who have received COVID19 vaccine is accepted on the conditions and guidelines outlined by WHO and the American Association of Blood Bank (AABB).

The guidelines stipulate that; individuals who received a non-replicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine can donate blood without a waiting period, individuals who received a live-attenuated viral COVID-19 vaccine should refrain from donating blood for a short waiting period amounting to 14 days after receipt of the vaccine and individuals who are uncertain about which COVID-19 vaccine was administered should refrain from donating for a short waiting period of 14 days if it is possible that the individual received a live-attenuated viral vaccine.

On the one hand the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a joint statement on the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. It states that as of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

The CDC and FDA are on a mission to review the cases and assess their potential significance. Until that process is complete, they have recommended a pause in the use of the vaccine out of an abundance of caution. The two stressed that it is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with the type of blood clot evident in the cases.

The total number of people who have donated blood in Botswana since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 until February 2021 is 11 743. Translating to 23 489 pints. Only 5 percent of blood donated since 2020 to present has not met the eligibility criteria.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to sensitize the public on the importance of donating blood through intensified community blood drives and social media as the blood coffers are critically low at 1 138 pints of blood available which is inadequate considering the monthly target of 2 609 Pints.



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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