Connect with us

News

The perils of parenting a special needs child

Published

on

Leadership & Business Coach Hannah Lecha spends much of her time reaching out to parents of children with disabilities. She knows how overwhelming it can be because after all, she is raising a daughter who is epileptic. “About six years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with meningitis just before she turned 3 years old. “Our lives have never been the same, ever since. Three years post the meningitis diagnosis she was further diagnosed with epilepsy.

She has since regressed in her speech, language skills, auditory processing skills and exhibits a whole array of other developmental delays,” shares Lecha. She adds that parenting a disabled child usually involves a great deal of patience and can be very time-consuming. No one makes a plan to parent a special needs child. “The child simply arrives and the day she does is heart-rending and life as you know it is redefined for you,” she says.

The Maun based mother laments feelings of doubt and hopelessness at what the future has in store for her daughter. Her struggles launched her into the role of Executive Director of the Hannah Lecha Foundation. The organisation empowers and conducts training so parents know of available resources to help their children grow. This includes knowledge of public laws and individualised education plans to target a child’s specific needs.

Recently she partnered with Ambrose Trust to host a workshop titled: ‘Giving your special needs child a chance to thrive,’ at the University of Botswana. She explains, “These parents need a level of support that is difficult to give if you haven’t been in their shoes. The understanding that was shared during the workshop was very powerful. “It was especially helpful because these parents are very isolated and despite information that may be available, still end up feeling as if their struggles are unique and represent their failures as parents”.

Furthermore, she says that parents often find themselves wrapped in the struggle of raising special needs children and strive to do everything they can to support them. “We love them unconditionally and protect them at every turn. Sometimes, in the midst of this love and protection, we end up limiting our children and affecting their development,” she said. In the meantime, programmes for those with developmental disabilities remain fragile.

Medical aids specifically, she says, need to be held to task to offer more support to children with special needs. “I have had to open two medical aid schemes just so I can up the cover for my daughter, still it’s not enough”.While children with special needs do not come with manuals, Lecha says the best thing a parent can do is to accept the reality of their child’s condition and not hide them, they should allow themselves to grieve and finally learn and implement some tools to empower themselves and their children to thrive against all odds.

Continue Reading
Comments

News

Three months more

Published

on

INTERCHANGE WORKS: Work at the Boatle Interchange continues as the entire project nears completion set for April

Following numerous postponements, the dual carriageway between Game City in Gaborone and Boatle near Ramotswa will be opened for full use in April this year. Currently motorists are using the newly-constructed half of the four-lane stretch as work on rehabilitating and reconstructing the old side that will form the western carriageway continues.

Construction of the eastern plane of the Boatle interchange and bridges at Tloane and Metsimaswaane rivers has been completed and the entire eastern carriageway from Gaborone to Boatle is open for traffic.

The department of transport recently released a media statement confirming that completion of the road was at 77 percent and that the hope is that it will be fully completed by April 2019.
This will come as music to the ears of travellers who have been frustrated by the seemingly endless construction on the road and the slow movement of traffic particularly during peak hours just before and after working hours. The department has however cautioned that drivers should still remain vigilant, drive carefully and obey road signs.

Meanwhile, some motorists have complained that construction of the road has taken too long and that there is little order on the road. “These people are way behind schedule and we can’t see what they are doing. Also, there is no order on the road. Once you get to the side of Mokolodi, traffic comes to a complete standstill. They should try and push work at slow hours and not at peak hour,” said Mmoloki Obuditswe, who commutes between Lobatse and Gaborone daily.

He however expressed hope that traffic would ease near the Boatle junction as cars headed to Ramotswa would break off easily without delaying those headed for Lobatse. “The cars going to Ramotswa used to cause a headache because they are so many and the road was thin and in a bad state,” he said.

Another motorist, Kutlwano Seemo noted that while the opening of the road was a welcome development that shows progress, it would have been great if the dual carriageway went all the way to Lobatse.

“They should have fixed the whole A1 road and not a brief stretch. This road is terrible and it continues to claim many lives. Traffic has increased so we need wider and more sophisticated roads. I hope government prioritises investing in road infrastructure because we honestly don’t have good roads. Maybe this Boatle road will be a start.”

Continue Reading

News

U=U campaign packaging a headache for BHP, Ministry

Rachel Raditsebe

Published

on

TRICKY AFFAIR: Dr Joseph Makhema is still cautious on the matter of declaring the Undetectable to be Untransmittable

While there is no denying the proven science that an HIV positive person whose HIV viral load cannot be detected cannot transmit it to an HIV negative person, it is how that message is packaged and delivered to the public that is proving to be a difficulty.

This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) Dr Joseph Makhema.Internationally, the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, has gained ground as scientific consensus has united around the concept that being undetectable means being unable to transmit HIV. The campaign has been endorsed by more than 350 HIV organisations from 34 countries, including leading scientific and medical organisations such as the International AIDS Society (IAS), UNAIDS, and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).

By taking HIV treatment consistently and on time, the HIV virus in the blood (also known as viral load) and other bodily fluids gets to undetectable levels. The drugs work by controlling the replication of HIV in the body by reducing the virus’ ability to make copies of itself.

“The drugs slow down the damage that the virus does to the immune system and allow people to live long, productive lives like everyone else without succumbing to the disease. These drugs are tremendously valuable in giving an excellent quality of life and preventing HIV transmission. There is absolutely no doubt that HIV treatment has revolutionised AIDS,” Dr Makhema explained.

However, he said for now BHP and the Health Ministry are still looking at the context and messaging of U=U and how to package it for the public. This, he explained is because, there are situations whether of illness, for example if someone has flu, they can get an exacerbation of viral rebound.

Or somebody gets a gastro intestinal disorder and they have diarrhoea or vomiting, they cannot keep the medication in their system. This would mean they are not fully able to keep the virus fully supressed and they can rebound.

“So we really don’t know at this point in time, we really need to have research done so that we are able to know how we are going to package and share the U=U messaging with the general public,” stated Dr Makhema.

According to Dr Makhema, the only time he would ever give anyone the go ahead to have unprotected sex is only if there was a test where before each sexual act, a person can check their viral load.
Until then he insists on condom use even with the other HIV prevention tools currently available like Safe Male Circumcision and more recently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

“While we have got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic, it’s important how we package that information so that our people really understand how they work,” Dr Makhema said.

Citing the condom as an example, Dr Makhema said that new infections are still high even though condoms are cheap, readily available and have been proven to be over 99 percent effective if used correctly at not only preventing HIV infection but also other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Overall, Dr Makhema said there was need for clear guidance on how individuals should be advised on using “treatment as prevention” as a safer sex option and this should be combined with renewed efforts to encourage condom use.

Continue Reading

Trending