Connect with us


Double cancer survivor inspires patients

Keletso Thobega



I'M A SURVIVOR: Mphoentle Dimbungu

October is a dedicated breast cancer awareness month, and scores of women often open up about their experiences around this time.

One such woman, who has experienced the pain of cancer and has lived to tell her story, is Mphoentle Bandu Dimbungu, a mother of four in her 50s, who is cleared of breast and lung cancers.

The upbeat gregarious woman tells The Midweek Sun that any situation can be overcome through faith, perseverance and resilience. Dimbungu was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and immediately started treatment. She went through six cycles of chemotherapy and seven cycles of daily radiation treatment.

She was depressingly ill but held on and despite the terrible side effects of both treatments she managed to recover and return to work. She then went for check-ups every three months. Both her breasts were eventually removed. It was a huge blow but she took it in her stride.

In 2016, Dimbungu noticed lumps on her neck and she went for a check-up. She was told that they were benign. However, not too long after that, she started experienced sharp pain on her chest. She went to have it checked at hospital.

“I had an X-ray and the radiographer informed me that it showed that there were cancerous tumours on both my lungs. I was referred to a surgeon for surgery but I did not want to go under that whole experience again. I had been through a lot and was tired of the severe pain. I was still too weak and believed that I would possibly get worse,” she says.

Throughout this challenging period, Dimbungu, who is a teacher by profession, reached out to other cancer survivors through the Internet. “They offered me support and shared their knowledge. I connected with a group of cancer survivors from UK and they advised me to fight cancer without chemo and radiation.

“I learnt that diet could play a crucial role in fighting cancer; I learnt that it was important to consume a clean healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit and fibre. Cancer thrives in an acidic body.”

Between April and July 2016 she went to see an oncologist and was eventually told that the cancer was in remission. She continued to live healthy: exercise regularly, get adequate rest and sunshine, follow a healthy diet and consume fresh water.

Dimbungu is now clear of cancer. She offers support to other patients, visits them at hospitals and teaches different people about the importance of making positive lifestyle changes towards good health. She also runs an office in Main Mall. Dimbungu has also penned a book that chronicles her experiences titled: Understanding the effects of cancer and its treatment.

Continue Reading


Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega



Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

Continue Reading


Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka



NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

Continue Reading