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80 000 people in Botswana have Diabetes

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Diabetes has increased in Africa between 1990 and 2015 due to rapid development and urbanisation, which were seen as a boon among economists, but now has health experts worried for the future.

Mauritius leads the pack of countries with a high diabetes prevalence rate of 17 percent, which is two to five times greater than rates in the other African countries according to a report released on Monday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). In Botswana, 80 000 people (about four percent of the population) suffer from diabetes and there are many more who are undiagnosed, reveals Chairman of Diabetes Association of Botswana (DAB), Dr. Joel Dipesalema.

Two and firty children with diabetes are registered with the association. There are three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes (a condition where the body stops producing insulin, an essential hormone produced by the pancreas to convert glucose into energy); type 2 diabetes (a condition that develops over time where the body is unable to use insulin properly); and gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, genetics and lifestyle factors). About 90 percent of Batswana have type 2 diabetes according to Dr. Dipesalema, however many of these cases go undiagnosed as there are very few symptoms initially.

Symptoms for diabetes include fatigue; excessive thirst and urination, slow wound healing and skin infections, blurred vision and regular bouts of thrush. As these symptoms can be very mild and develop gradually, many people fail to recognise them as warning signs of diabetes. “It takes on average seven years for a person to get diagnosed with diabetes for the first time,” Dr. Dipesalema said. “Sadly, the result is that a lot of people with type 2 diabetes have already developed complications by the time they are diagnosed.” Diabetes complications are serious and include heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. In most cases these complications could have been avoided entirely by early diagnosis and proper treatment. Diabetes is seen as one cause of disability that greatly affects the future development and the use of resources of African states. This is because a diabetes patient requires three times more health resources than a non-diabetic, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Globally, 366 million people have diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicts this number to rise to 552 million by 2030.The greatest increase in diabetes is expected to be in Africa. It’s predicted that the incidence of diabetes in Africa will have almost doubled by 2030. The main causes for this dramatic rise are urbanisation and obesity. Dr. Dipesalema said a lot of people are migrating from rural to urban areas in pursuit of work and better opportunities. In a short time their lifestyles change dramatically: they adopt a westernised diet high in fat, sugar and salt, and get far less exercise than they were used to. Cultural beliefs also play a big role.

According to registered dietician Oarabile Ngwako, many African communities still see weight gain as a sense of achievement. “It signifies dignity and respect, and shows that you are enjoying wealth and a good life. Being thin is also associated with hardship, trouble at home and serious illnesses such as TB or HIV/Aids.” This weight gain leads to overweight and obesity, which is a great precursor for type 2 Diabetes. Ngwako advised that diabetes could be prevented through reduction of sugar intakes like canned drinks, putting a stop to tobacco smoking and incorporating healthy meals into diets.

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Cops are not monsters – Matlapeng

Yvonne Mooka

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Crime becomes easier to fight when members of the society and the police work together, says Sejelo Police Station Commander Superintendent Mogomotsi Matlapeng.

“Police of today go to the people. We want them to see that we are not fighting them but fighting crime, hence we want to join hands with them,” said the police boss, who joined the police station this year in May from Broadhurst Police station in Gaborone.

He said that gone are the days when police officers were feared by members of the community. Supt. Matlapeng is likeable among members of his staff and the community of Kanye. He has won the hearts of many villagers in a short period of time because of his efforts to take the police station to the people.

Under him, Sejelo Police was awarded Station Community Policing award for this year by the Botswana Police Service. “We go to the people and address their issues. As a philosopher and a perfectionist myself, I believe that community policing is the way to go. “We go to schools and speak to teachers on certain issues relevant to the students. Our clusters also visit local wards to teach parents about pressing matters pertaining to crime,” he said.

Other than stock theft, the police station has recorded relatively low crime statistics. The station covers Kanye Kgosing ward, Moshana, Gasita and Selokolela.

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Murder convict, Masilo not going down without a “fight”

Keletso Thobega

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Thabo Masilo did not cringe when Judge Abednigo Tafa found him guilty of murder this past Thursday. Masilo stood erect staring ahead as if in a trance.

There was not a mutter in the courtroom when Justice Tafa stated that Masilo had intentionally murdered former St. Joseph’s College learner Tshepang Motlhabane on 16 November 2012 in Phase 4 Gaborone. In his ruling, Tafa argued that Masilo could not claim that he was acting in self defence when he had stabbed Tshepang three times. Masilo had through his lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae insisted that Tshepang was his lover and he had stabbed her following an altercation because she had grabbed him by the balls when he had demanded his phone and P100 he had borrowed her.

Post mortem results show that Motlhabane had three wounds and died from a vein rupture. “If it was indeed self-defence, he would have not stabbed the deceased three times in different places. It is without a doubt that the accused had come to the house with the intention to commit an offence but faced with resistence from his victim, he decided to stab her,” said the judge.
He however dismissed the robbery charge.

It remains a mystery how Masilo gained entry into the property, which had a high wall and alarm system. Curious members of the public, relatives and friends of Tshepang as well as relatives of Masilo flocked Court Room 5 of Lobatse High Court for the ruling. The courtroom was so packed that some people sat at the back on the floor.

Masilo, who has lost a lot of weight, seemed to suffer a ‘leaky bladder’ as he went to the bathroom several times, escorted by prison officers. At one point during the long ruling, Masilo stopped proceedings, and through his lawyer Ngakayagae, complained that there were certain people in the courtroom taking pictures of him.

These people were seen by him only. The ruling that was read over nearly two hours painted a sad ending for the little girl who sustained wounds above the eye, on the chest and died a day after the attack. Tshepang is said to have at one point said to a nurse and relative: A lo boleletse mama gore ke a swa (Did you tell my mother that I am dying). Information provided by medical personnel indicates that she had lost a lot of blood.

Tafa read statements by 13 witnesses including Security System officers, police officers, a forensic expert, nurse, doctor, a relative and a photojournalist. All corroborated that the girl had been attacked and had locked herself in her bedroom from her assailant, who was much later found in hiding in the house. Masilo had claimed that he and the deceased were dating and he had loaned her P100 and his Nokia phone. However, when he visited her and asked that she return the money, a fight ensued and she held him by the testicles.

This, he claimed, led to him taking a kitchen knife and stabbing her in self-defence because she did not want to let go of him. Tafa said that this version of events was questionable and noted that only the accused and deceased were in the house at the said time and it would be difficult to determine exactly what had happened. He however said that there was no doubt that Masilo had killed Motlhabane.

He also noted that Masilo’s actions showed guilt as he had hidden in the ceiling of the house when he heard Security Systems personnel breaking into the house, and had also claimed to have drunk poison. He said if it was not his intention to kill Tshepang; he would have cooperated with the security officers and asked them to help Tshepang promptly.

Following the ruling, Masilo’s lawyer Ngakayagae asked for a date to be set for submissions on extenuation, saying that they would present three witnesses. The date was set to 7 February 2019 at the Gaborone High Court.

Masilo, who is already serving 15 years for robbery and rape, appears to come from a decent home. Many of his relatives were in court to offer moral support. His mother, who appeared agitated, has been by his side from day one. Considering that the family is paying one of the best lawyers in the country, it is safe to say that money is not a problem.

Although Masilo has already been found guilty, the fight appears to be for a more lenient sentence as he faces the hangman’s noose. Outside court, different camps spoke in hushed tones discussing the ruling. The mother of the late Tshepng looked sombre and frail. It is clear that the pain has not left her.

Shying away from flashing cameras and curious glances, she briefly said she was pleased Masilo had been found guilty but refused to comment further. An unidentified family representative chipped in that they were happy with the ruling. Quizzed on how they felt about Masilo she said: “We have forgiven him because we are Christians. But we are glad that justice will be served.”

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