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Dr Madigele vows to clean health system



Dr Alfred Madigele is excited to be appointed Minister of Health and Wellness and as a Medical Doctor, he has seen a lot of loopholes in the health sector which he is raring to close and improve service in government hospitals. Speaking to The Midweek Sun a day after he was sworn in as health minister, Madigele said among the issues that needs to be addressed in the health sector is the referral system to South Africa as the government is spending a lot of money on these referrals. “We need more specialists in the country because these referrals are siphoning a lot of funds from our coffers. We don’t need to change any policy but we have to review these cases and make sure we have the return on investment,” said Madigele.

He said there seems to be poor service in the public hospitals because employees have low morale and this is another challenge that needs to be properly dealt with. “Staff welfare is very important; we need to focus on improving our staff welfare. When employees are not happy they will not render good service” said Madigele. He pointed out that many people are excited that he is back in the ministry as a minister and he is going to take advantage of this opportunity to relate well with the employees and improve their morale. “I am happy because many people are excited that I am back in the ministry.

So I will make sure that I use this opportunity to boost their attitude to work. Service in hospitals is not poor because we are understaffed, we have enough employees, they just need motivation”. Poor infrastructure is another challenge facing the ministry. Dr Madigele is committed to ensuring that there is a good infrastructure in place across all public hospitals and clinics. “There is an issue of poor infrastructure, shortage of facilities or poor functioning of boilers, I will ensure there are proper facilities and infrastructure in place,” he said.Dr Madigele studied his degree in Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Ireland. He then worked in Ireland for a year and came back home to work at Princess Marina Hospital. After a year at Princess Marina he joined private practice where he served for 10 years. Dr Madigele runs Health Synergy, a company that specialises in health consultancy and corporate medicine.

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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



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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