Botswana: Bobonong Constituency Reports Challenges, Successes

Bobonong — In their concerted efforts of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Bobirwa Sub-district on March 29 set up village emergency operation centres in all 17 villages of the Sub District. The operations centres were charged with coordination of Covid-19 activities at village level.

Giving a report during the Vice President Mr Slumber Tsogwane's visit to the constituency, Bobirwa Sub-district Council's senior assistant council secretary Ms Gomolemo Moepeng detailed a string of successes amid challenges.

"The chairpersons of the VEOC, village emergency operation centres, submitted daily reports to the district emergency operation centre... focus of the reports were permit issuance, monitoring compliance of the emergency powers regulations, surveillance of COVID-19 cases amongst others," reads part of the executive summary of the report.

The report showed that a total of 22 health staff were trained and deployed on shift basis whenever there was a COVID-19 suspect.

Bobonong has one isolation facility with two ensuite beds at the primary hospital. The facility in question has been home to 48 COVID-19 suspects, all of whom tested negative.

The report also showed that Bobonong Primary Hospital had adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), sample collection kits and that health staff have been trained on packaging samples for transportation.

A table of PPE availability showed that Bobonong had 6 910 N95/FFP2 masks, 1 789 gowns, 1 110 goggles, 193 face shields, 544 gloves and 120 surgical masks.

For screening, Bobonong reportedly has 30 infra-red thermometers, four of which are nonfunctional at all 12 health facilities. The report bears that 5731 screenings were conducted of which nine people were diagnosed with fever 'and were sent to further management.'

Of the 5732 screenings, 2389 were carried out at Bobonong Primary Hospital, 1 016 at Mathatane Clinic, 863 at Tsetsebjwe Clinic, 358 by Semolale clinic, 288 at Mabeleng Health Post while the remaining figures were spread across other facilities.

Though seemingly doing well, Bobonong Constituency is faced with old, dilapidated and insufficient infrastructure for both patient admission and office space as per the report.

Again, vehicles were reportedly not suitable for the Bobonong Constituency terrain 'resulting in frequent breakdowns.'

To cap all the challenges, the report stated it that the constituency faces staff shortage, especially doctors with specialized skills.

Further, the area possesses old and obsolete diagnostic equipment especially laboratory and X-ray machines. There is also lack of specialised COVID-19 equipment like ventilators for patient management.

The report further outlined that in case the constituency gets a surge in numbers of suspects, it may face inadequate suitable ensuite facilities for isolation.

On education, the report indicated that the sub-district had installed hand wash basins at all 19 primary schools in Bobonong Constituency. Initially each school was installed with 19 hand wash basins, before an additional 81 basins were installed.

To address water shortage at schools, two water tanks were installed at Lepokole and Mafetsakgang primary schools.

The report furthermore indicated that to improve hygiene at schools, the sub-district council constructed toilets at Busang and Borotsi primary schools which experienced shortage pre-COVID-19 while toilets at all primary schools were maintained.

The sub-district was allocated P4.6m for maintenance and construction of the toilets where P2m was spent in Bobonong Constituency.

However, the sub-district reported that it faced lack of funding for major maintenance of classrooms and teachers' houses. Bat infestation at classrooms, teachers' houses and school kitchens was another nagging factor requiring of funds.

Be that as it may, the sub-district has supplied all the primary schools with cleaning material. Hand sanitisers, cleaning soaps, gloves, toilet papers, disposal bins and disposal bags have been dispatched to schools as per the report.

The constituency has a total of 27 schools comprising 19 primary schools, eight junior secondary schools and a senior secondary school with a population of 13, 617 learners across all levels.

Of the above population, Gobojango Junior Secondary School has 310 boarding pupils Matshekge Hill Senior School has 726 boarders, Molalatau Secondary School houses 240 boarders while Tsetsebjwe Junior Secondary School has 176.

The report outlined that a total of 27 safety, health and environment officers were engaged on three months temporary employ for both primary and secondary schools. For cleanliness, 828 cleaners have been engaged at both primary and secondary schools through Ipelegeng Programme.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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