Gaborone — Botswana is at the forefront in testing capacity and testing rate in the SADC region, says presidential COVID-19 task force deputy coordinator, Professor Mosepele Mosepele. He said the country's testing capacity and rate was two or three times higher than that of neighbouring countries.
Giving an update on the challenges and successes regarding the COVID-19 fight a year down the line, Professor Mosepele said the strategy of containing the pandemic was to ensure that 80 per cent of suspected cases were tested within 24 hours.
He further noted that 80 per cent of the results were released timely and ensured that 80 per cent of those that tested positive were put on isolation.
Professor Mosepele said despite limited health resources, the country's response to the pandemic was swift as the necessary measures were put in place to contain the pandemic, including testing facilities that were set up across the country while vulnerable groups were identified to reduce mortality.
He said some ethical considerations were adopted to ensure the effectiveness of the process and that all the measures put in place were justifiable to the public.
Furthermore, Professor Mosepele said when fighting the pandemic, it was important to take into consideration other necessities in life.
He said the process of fighting the pandemic involved preparing, preventing, response, recovery measures and mitigation.
He said although there were notable successes, one of them being the recorded cases of the pandemic were going down, it was also important to note that other challenges that were never anticipated made it difficult to deal with the pandemic.
Professor Mosepele said fighting the pandemic would remain a tough process as some carriers of the virus did not show signs that would trigger them to respond to their health and would unknowingly spread the virus.
He said another issue was that almost all the available vaccines had an age restriction of 16 years or 18 years and above.
He noted that it meant the lower ages were not catered for although equally affected by the pandemic.
He said although the age categories were not catered for it was important to come up with ways to assist them.
Professor Mosepele also appealed to the public to focus on what must be done to intensify the fight against the pandemic.
The scientific advisor to the task force, Dr Mogomotsi Matshaba emphasised the importance of establishing the corona variants that were in the country. "We must establish the variants in the country to ensure that available vaccines are able to deal with them," said Dr Matshaba.
Dr Matshaba also said it was important for the country to order varying doses of vaccines. He said using different COVID-19 vaccines would reduce the risk of vaccines failure for all persons.
He had also observed that in terms of drugs available, it was worth noting that currently demand surpassed supply.
Source : BOPA