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More funds needed to help little Abian Ntshabele recover

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Abian Abbie Ntshabele, 14, who is suffering from immature terratoma, a rare type of cancer usually diagnosed in girls and young women up to their early 20s is said to be getting stronger despite the upheaval she has to go through because of the many operations she undergoes in the UK.

Little Abbie recently underwent yet another operation. According to her mother, Tiny Ntshabele, there were complications during the surgery. She said Abbie was initially due for a major chest operation, but due to complications including the collection of fluid in her lungs, it would have been too risky to undertake the full procedure on this occasion.

As such, a further explorative investigation was undertaken and her medical team decided to carry out a partial procedure which included antibiotics initially, followed by a drainage tube inserted into her chest permanently to enable lung fluid drainage prior to future surgery. Such intense procedures could have thrown any mother off the edge but definitely not Ntshabele.

She has to remain strong for her little princess no matter what the cost. “It has been very hard but as a mother you have to do whatever it takes for your child, fortunately I have the support of my mother who has been here with us since Abbie was first admitted to hospital in the UK,” she said adding that the support of her friends, family and the media both in the UK and in Botswana has been keeping her afloat.

Ntshabele has also revealed to The Midweek Sun that more funds are needed to help in Abbie’s recovery. There was a campaign that initially raised money for Abbie’s life saving operation and Ntshabele says they did not foresee the cumulative amount of complications and necessary procedures required after the initial phase of operations. “It has become clear to us all that we need to start the second phase of the campaign which will be Abbie’s recovery fund,” she said.

We have put together a team of coordinators both here in the UK and in Botswana who are working on the second phase of the fund raising campaign.
The new campaign is to reach all gender organisations, stakeholders and groups of different affiliations. Ntshabele said that the strategy is an open campaign to solicit any help to finance Abbie’s recovery since her future relies on her receiving good recovery medical care.

She continues to chronicle her daughter’s story which has also attracted British singing sensation Olly Murs who visited Abbie in hospital in New Castle back in April. For now, Abbie soldiers on and her feisty and strong spirit will help in pushing her to full recovery.

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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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