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Sexologist calls for sexuality education at early age

Rachel Raditsebe

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A comprehensive sexuality education should be taught to children from a very young age to increase self-empowerment, a sex expert has said.

Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a packed ‘Just Sex’ seminar held at Cresta Lodge recently, Sexologist Dr. Elna Rudolph noted that with children having unrestricted access to information, including false and half-baked ones on the internet, and rising cases of child sexual abuse, sexuality education has never been deemed more important than it is now.

While sex education teaches mainly about human bodies, sexuality education includes other issues such as emotional relations and responsibilities. Dr. Rudolph says the need of the hour is age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education. “Young people should be given accurate information in a non-fear based way, and skills that will help them negotiate and take decisions.“The education we give our children needs to be comprehensive and not just be about body parts, STI’s and pregnancy. We need to include pleasure and how one can control themselves (sic) for instance,” she explained.

She said children need to be empowered to understand what consent entails, how to negotiate not doing it immediately and even condom use. “These are more important skills to know than being able to name a list of STI’s.” Sexuality education should start when children are young, even at toddler stage by naming body parts with no sense of shame attached to it.

“Why is it that small children, who do not know what sex is know that there is shame attached to body parts and genitals?” asks Dr. Rudolph. A lot of parents, according to the sexologist, think that having these conversations teaches children to have sex. “But sexuality is so much more than just the physical act of having sex. It includes gender, identity, body image, consent, abuse, roles, relationships, values, and attitude,” she said, adding that a sense of trust should also be instilled in adults so that children feel confident enough to approach them and share their fears and problems.
The sex talk included hot sex topics including treatment for erectile dysfunction, how to last longer, everything about premature ejaculation, how to get an orgasm, how to improve libido and sexual etiquette amongst others.

The organiser of the seminar, Michelle Phetlhe of ESTeRES Boutique Agency said of the event: “We wanted to provide a platform for people to simplify and discuss issues related to sex, consent and everything in between. To make it ‘normal’for different generations to have open conversations about sexual health and wellness before the younger generation especially find themselves in undesirable situations.”

Phetlhe, who hopes to partner with other stakeholders to keep the conversation going, believes that once a strong foundation with sexual consent is embedded in our culture, sex will not seem like such a distant and uncomfortable issue.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

The MidweekSun Admin

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University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

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Healthcare system to improve

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The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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