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Smoking Cessation a serious challenge- GATS Research

Research by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) has proven that smoking cessation is a serious challenge in Botswana which has led to many failing to quit the use of tobacco which eventually leads to poor health and death for some.

Statistics show that in 2017, 83.9 percent of tobacco smokers planned to or were thinking about quitting. More than half (57.8%) of tobacco smokers made a quit attempt. Two-thirds of tobacco smokers (67.0%) who made a quit attempt tried to do so without any assistance. Among smokers who visited health care providers, 51.8 percent were asked if they smoked and 43.7 percent were advised to quit smoking. Overall, 7.0 percent of smokers quit in just 12 months.

Describing why it is difficult for one to quit smoking Psychiatrist Dr Thula said, “Cigarettes should be rated as a potentially more harmful drug than illegal substances such as ecstasy and lysergide (LSD). Cigarettes lead to addiction which is a chronic relapse disease, it affects the body and how it is supposed to function. When you smoke a cigarette it only takes six to ten seconds for the nicotine to reach your brain. This makes smoking tobacco very addictive and difficult to stop. Nicotine that is inhaled in cigarette smoke is absorbed by the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly goes to the heart and brain”.

Current stats reflect that 18.3 percent of adults aged between 15 and 69 in Botswana smoke tobacco. Rates are much higher among men than among women 31.4 percent of men and 4.9 percent of women smoke tobacco. Every year nearly 2,000 Batswana are killed by smoking-caused diseases. Even though fewer men and women die on average in Botswana than in other middle-income countries, still 27 men and 11 women are killed by smoking every week.

“Most people that are addicted to cigarettes started smoking at a young age, it is easier for a young person to become an addict compared to someone who starts smoking at an older age. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness,” concluded Dr Thula.

Former drug addict and advocate Boyson Mokone supported the statement stating that quitting cigarettes was a huge challenge that he faced which even led him to use heroin because he wanted something with a much bigger effect than tobacco despite knowing the effects that come with taking both substances.


Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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