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Inaugural TEDxGaborone oozed inspiration

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TED is an annual event that brings together world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas on various disciplines either technology, entertainment, design, science, humanities, or business development.

The talks are known as ‘TED Talks’ and are available to watch for free online. TED has also created TEDx, a programme of localized, self-organised events bringing people together to share TED-like experiences.     

The inaugural conference was held at the GICC on Saturday and themed, ‘Imagine a Better World’. The line-up of speakers included well-versed and experienced poet, TJ Dema sharing her journey as an artist; the challenges she has faced as a woman and needing to prove herself in a male dominated arena. Tebogo Mapine aka Normadic demonstrated live on stage what it takes to create music. He received kudos for being the local originator of Motswako, a South African genre of hip-hop.

The youthful Lilian Nkosazana Moremi became a pioneer in her own right, when she birthed the Botswana Student Network, an advocacy organisation for students to share common challenges and find solutions. Moremi like numerous other young Batswana was faced with unemployment and decided to volunteer. She is now the manager of Ducere Foundation and Career Coaching Company.

Operations Manager of Deaftronics, Tendekayi Katsiga shared experiences on the deaf community he works closely with.
Deaftronics assembles and provides solar rechargeable hearing aids and accessories including training. Kali Ilunga, a Johannesburg based new media strategist, entrepreneur and speaker believes a lot can be achieved if people were to use their imagination; ‘ideas matter,’ ‘think global’ and ‘disrupt something’ is his motto. He believes that in a knowledge economy, ideas are the raw materials. Ilunga and his team have established a driving App used by thousands of learner-drivers in South Africa.

‘Thought Leader’ or Science of Human Behavior and Branding specialist, Timothy Maurice Webster’s message was that often times people want to conquor the world before they conquor themselves. “We need to appreciate fully our past unfortunate circumstances in order to make peace with ourselves,” he said.
Webster is also an author, speaker and strategist.

Other inspirational talks were delivered by Mahube Mpugwa who reached the peak of the highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest to raise funds for the Cancer Association of Botswana. For his part, Thuli Ntsatsi urged the audience to imagine a better world, one rooted on culture.” Local expert, Stuart White’s message was that what matters the most is, “Not what other people are thinking about you, but what you think of yourself that will help you make the world a better place.”

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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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