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IN KASALE’S SHOES

Yvonne Mooka

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Caroline Phiri-Lubwika, veteran journalist from Zambia has filled in the big shoes of the late Beata Kasale as member of Women In News (WIN) Steering Committee.

This was announced last week at WIN National Gathering in Gaborone. Lubwika, a journalist and communication specialist for over 24 years now, has coached and mentored WIN. WIN is a project targeted at Botswana media practitioners in mid-management. It runs a pilot project by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN/INFRA) in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia between 2010 and 2014.

Her new roles include advising WIN on programming and project management issues, providing market leadership in terms of advocacy and advisory services working closely with advisory coordinator, Project Manager, and Africa Director and facilitating meetings, media visits, round tables with industry and institutional leaders in Botswana.

She is also expected to intervene should the project team experience challenges with partners and would-be partners. Lubwika’s other duties include coordinating with Coach and Project Manager for national gatherings, supporting the Future leaders programme in liaison with Project Manager and National Mentor, supporting WIN advisory and facilitating buy-in and commitment from partners and advising on critical country and industry developments which may impact on the success of the WIN Programme.

In an interview with The Midweek Sun, Lubwika said that she felt honoured and was looking forward to learning from other WINners. “I will do the best I can to ensure WIN and WIN Advisory become a formidable team,” she said. Her main thrust is more on media training, mentoring and capacity building ranging from children reporting, news writing to media ethics.

She has also been a facilitator, planner and trainer for a Project on the Formulation of HIV and AIDS Policy and Code of Conduct in Botswana Media Houses from 2007 to 2009. Lubwika holds a diploma in Journalism from Africa Literature Centre in Zambia, a degree in Communication Science from the University of South Africa and a Master’s degree in Applied and Professional Ethics from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

Beata was a founding mother of the Women In News programme, having been a great advocate and advisor since inception of the programme nine years ago, and later a Steering Committee member for Botswana. Her fingerprints can be seen on many empowering initiatives in sub-Saharan countries like Botswana, Senegal, Namibia and Zambia. She is remembered as a woman who gave female journalists a voice.

She was a tireless champion of free and independent media in Botswana and irrevocably changed the landscape of the country’s media scene as the first female publisher of a newspaper company. Kasale co-founded and owned The Voice for 25 years till she passed last year.

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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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