Health Ministry Moves to Improve Service

| April 2, 2015

The Minister of Health, Ms Dorcas Makgato, says her ministry will go through a transformation process in order to offer quality health care services to Batswana.

Minister Makgato said during Kweneng Dstrict full council meeting in Molepolole on March 30 that her ministry will achieve this objective by focusing on preventative measures as opposed to curative ones since prevention is better than cure.

She informed councillors that the ministry was in talks with other countries such as Cuba and China for possible bilateral cooperation on recruitment of 102 Cuban and 46 Chinese doctors. Furthermore, she said the ministry sought to expand local institutions as well as increasing uptake of students on health related courses.

Minister Makgato further announced that with effect from April 1, the ministry would procure several ambulances to address transport shortages.

Other strategies the ministry will embark on include outsourcing of maintenance of vehicles to private garages establishment of emergency medical services in Gaborone and decentralisation of some powers to District Health Teams (DHT’s).

The minister stated that the ministry is still facing a lot of challenges such as the inability to attract and retain skilled health workforce which lead to shortage of skilled health care providers such as doctors, specialists and pharmacists.

Other challenges she cited, include financial resources to upgrade health facilities, maintenance of health facilities and equipment which all require substantive amount of money. She mentioned that there are concerns of quality of services and overcrowding in referral hospitals.

Despite the many challenges her ministry is faced with, Ms Makgatho said they continue to register a number of successes, among them improvement of vital drugs in health care facilities as at March 1, 2015. She said prevention of Mother to Child Treatment (PMTCT) has been reduced to less than 2.5 per cent, adding that a decline of this figure is anticipated.

Furthermore, Minister Makgato explained that declines are also seen in maternal mortality ratio from 326 per 100 000 live births in year 2000 to 134 per 100 000 live births in 2004. Also HIV incidence and TB notification rates have declined.

For their part, councillors expressed dissatisfaction of healthcare services in their constituencies.

Councillor for Mmankgodi, Mr Ofentse Mafoko told the Minister that Mmankgodi clinic has been downgraded and as a result no longer offers maternity services and the number of staff has since been reduced. He said there are donors who have long wanted to expand the clinic but MoH is delaying the process. He also complained of poor hygiene in general in both clinics and hospitals.

Councillor for Kubung, Mr Phatsimo Mmolotsi appealed to the Minister to rollout services to settlements.

Councillor for Thamaga North, Mr Palelo Motaosane requested the Minister to transfer top management at Scotish Livingston hospital and Thamaga Primary hospital saying they have overstayed and therefore delay service delivery.

Other councillors complained of shortage of transport and drugs. They also called for decentralisation of services for the sake of the welfare of patients.

Responding to their comments, Minister Makgato promised to visit most clinics unannounced to get firsthand information. She also acknowledged that most problems are caused by disorganised system of logistics and informed councillors that her ministry is working around the clock to resolve the matter.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Medical/Health Care

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