10 September 2017

Botswana: Minister to Relook Issue of Referrals

Letlhakeng — Minister of Health and Wellness, Ms Dorcas Makgato has promised residents of Motokwe that she will re-look the issue of referring patients from Motokwe Clinic to Hukuntsi Primary Hospital rather than Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole.

Speaking at a kgotla meeting she addressed at the village on Friday, Ms Makgato said the Motokwe Clinic used to refer patients to Scottish Livingstone Hospital, and that the decision to change to Hukuntsi hospital was taken in good faith around 2013 looking at the fact that Hukuntsi was closer than Molepolole.

Ms Makgato said this after residents complained that Hukuntsi hospital was under equipped and that most of the time patients referred there did not receive the necessary assistance.

Residents said this forced patients to return to Motokwe and seek assistance at Princes Marina Hospital in Gaborone.

Ms Makgato said health facilities across the country were faced with shortage of specialists including pharmacists hence the ministry resorted to training general nurses in basic pharmacy so that they could dispense medication to patients.

She said manpower shortage made it difficult for the ministry to post pharmacists to all 568 health facilities across the country.

Ms Makgato said this after Kgosi Aobakwe Molaole complained about the lack of a pharmacist at the local clinic which he said forced nurses to perform double roles thereby causing delay with patients having to wait for the nurse to dispense medication.

Ms Makgato indicated that the bulk of her ministry's budget was consumed by curatives, especially non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

She urged the community to take care of their health so that funds could be used to address other challenges in the ministry such as shortage of staff accommodation and vehicle replacement.

She said the ministry needed to replace 555 vehicles among them ambulances.

The minister told residents that construction of more health facilities across the country was not a sign of development, but rather indicated failure by the citizenry to take health seriously.

She encouraged residents to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

She said it was not uncommon to have a primary school child with diabetes, something she said was a result of the current lifestyle where people did not watch diet and never exercised.

Ms Makgato informed residents about some of the programmes under her ministry such as PMTCT, See and Treat and the 90-90-90 initiative.

Area Member of Parliament, Mr Ngaka Ngaka agreed with the constituents that referrals to Molepolole and Gaborone would serve them better as most youth from Motokwe preferred the two for job opportunities.

He said referring patients to Molepolole or Gaborone would make it easier for post care as they would likely have relatives residing there to accommodate and take care of them.

The MP said residents of Motokwe were faced with a challenge that administratively, their clinic was assisted by Kweneng while operations were handled in Kgalagadi.

He said this caused confusion when residents needed to report issues such as maintenance or lack of medication as they did not know who to report to.

Source : BOPA

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