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Statistics Botswana (SB) has strongly denied any involvement in acts of favouritism as complained by scores of citizens following the authority’s decision to recruit 200 temporary employees from the Gaborone labour office only.

Some former provisional employees who approached The Midweek Sun crying foul strongly felt that Gaborone residents were given preference over other citizens of the country. They also claimed that most of the rented cars deployed in the Multi-Topic household (BMTHS) survey belong to SB directors and South African companies.

When reached for comment regarding the allegations of bias, SB Communications, Documentation and Dissemination Manager, Lilian Setimela vehemently denied the accusation as baseless and devoid of any truth. She explained that all recruitment of temporary employees this year was done from the head office in Gaborone.

“Other Statistics offices across the country were not involved in the exercise including Francistown Regional office. Of the 200 temporary employees recruited, 100 are National Service Participants (Tirelo Setshaba) who were supplied to us through the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture (MYSC), while the other 100 were sourced from Gaborone Labour office with the assistance of Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs,” Setimela added. She also denied allegations of favouritism in sourcing private vehicles to be used during the survey.

“Statistics Botswana has no knowledge of any director who is a shareholder among all the current suppliers. We have sourced out 25 vehicles from private companies as the organisation endeavours to use locally registered vehicles for its field work operations to avoid any ambiguity and resistance during data collections. However, our experience is that due to the limited availability of the appropriate vehicles required for rental in the Botswana market, companies operating in Botswana that are awarded contracts by Statistics Botswana often seek assistance from their sister companies across the border. Such vehicles are then registered locally prior to use in the field to comply with Statistics Botswana’s requirements,” she added.

When quizzed about the previous recruitment procedure, Setimela said that in their previous surveys including the just ended Agricultural survey, the department recruited field workers through MYSC and the Department of Labour and Home Affairs. “MYSC requested national service district coordinators to recruit TSPs from their various districts while the department of Labour recruited temporary workers in their regions on a first come basis list.

Statistics Botswana did not favour people from Gaborone as the recruitment was done through MYSC and Labour who had the sole mandate to recruit temporary employees,” she explained.

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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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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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