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Couple struck by lightning at a cattle ranch

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Herdsman Keenetse Rakala (42) and the mother of his children Mphoyaone Gaanabeng (40) were struck by lightning this past week at a cattle ranch in Molapowabasadi settlement. Rakala was injured on the head while Gaanabeng has visible scars on her chest and back. The Midweek Sun team caught up with the visibly shocked couple this past weekend in Ralekgetho village where they reside. Rakala says on that fateful afternoon, him and his girlfriend together with their five-year old son were at the kraal preparing to go home.

“The lightning suddenly flashed and I felt like something was lifting me up the sky, in a split second, I landed on the ground on my stomach and my head was in severe pain. “When I searched for Gaanabeng I found her motionless in the centre of the kraal. My son appeared terrified and was hiding at the far end of the kraal.” Rakala said he had to man up despite the pain he was in, he was forced to go and seek help to get his girlfriend to the hospital.

Fortunately the neighbours came to the rescue. The couple was rushed to a clinic in Moshupa where they say they were given medication and sent back home after consultation. “All I know is that I was ready to go home and that is all I can recall, the next thing I woke up in a hospital bed and was told I was struck by lightning earlier,” Gaanabeng said. Showing off her fresh burn wounds, Gabaaneng said her body does not allow her to move around and she spends most of her time sleeping. She cannot perform household chores, but luckily she has six children to take care of that on a daily basis.

“I have abandoned all the duties to their father, he is not coping but I am just sitting here helpless,” she said sadly. Pointing at her small house made of tree branches, Gaanabeng said the situation was made worse by the fact that she sleeps on the floor together with her six children and their father. “I blame witchcraft, people are jealous, they want to kill me because I am a hardworking herdsman using my hands for a living,” Rakala chipped in. He said that his boss, Mmutlanyane as he called him, only checked them once after the incident but had to go back to Maun where he works.

His heart bled when he told The Midweek Sun that he expected some form of support from just anybody, be it MPs, Kgosi or even his boss,“Everybody knows the tragedy that befell me around here but I am all alone, my son appears traumatised because since the incident he wakes up in the middle of the night and speak in panic about rain. The boy keeps telling us that he saw us being attacked by a large bird that day,” Rakala said. Reached for comment, Mmutlanyane said he was in Maun and not living in Ralekgetho. He later changed his mind about commenting on the issue after asking if this reporter was a social worker of some sort and the phone disconnected. Repeated attempts to reach him again proved futile and he later sent a text to say his name was Modisakoma and not Mmutlanyane.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

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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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