Botswana: The Republic of Turkey's New Ambassador to Botswana Visits the WHO Country Office

Gaborone, Botswana - 23 April 2019: The Republic of Turkey's new Ambassador to Botswana, Her Excellency Meltem Büyükkaraş, paid a courtesy visit to the WHO Country Office to explore potential areas for cooperation and support to the Government of Botswana by the Turkish government. The ambassador expressed her pleasure in meeting with WHO and highlighted her intention to understand key issues that currently affect Botswana's health care system. She alluded that the Turkish government has been largely engaged in supporting the northern part of Africa and felt that it's time they made a mark in the Southern part of the continent. Her Excellency also emphasized that Turkey has strong initiatives on capacity building for health workers, including doctors' fly-in missions to countries to assist in any necessary health needs such as emergencies and outbreaks, as well as that which may be explored as part of the cooperation efforts.

The WHO Representative, Dr Martins Ovberedjo, had earlier welcomed the Ambassador and thanked her for honoring WCO with this visit. He then apprised the ambassador on the WHO Africa Regions reforms that that has overhauled the WHO working modalities as well the Regional Director's pledge for the first 100 days of assuming office. Dr Ovberedjo mentioned the recent restructuring of the MoHW which consequently led to the restructuring of the WHO country office to make fit for purpose. He also highlighted the current health issues which may be considered for partnerships with the Turkish government. This included the current quality issues associated with maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and Neglected Tropical Diseases, especially Soil Transmitted Helimenthes, which has affected school going children in the 12 regions of the country. These he highlighted as critical elements that impacts country's development as the children and mothers are the pillars when it comes the nation's health.

The ambassador in her response, acknowledged the health challenges presented and promised to further look at the proposals and promised to take necessary followup action to negotiate with her national authorities to avail required support to WHOShe also announced her desire to organize a high level meeting bringing Turkish ministerial entourage to Botswana to strengthen bilateral relations between Turkey and Botswana This she believes will by extension boost joint work across a spectrum of issues including health.

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