Botswana: Israel Help Arrives

Gaborone — The Ministry of Health and Wellness on Tuesday received a three-person emergency medical team from Israel.

Welcoming the doctor and two nurses, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti described their arrival as a sign of sincere commitment between the two countries to partner in the fight against COVID-19.

He expressed profound gratitude to the government of Israel for heeding Botswana's call for support in strengthening COVID-19 case management systems.

Dr Dikoloti said as the death toll and severe symptoms resulting from COVID-19 infections increased, Botswana required innovative and effective response mechanisms.

The deployment of international emergency medical teams to bring the pandemic under control was one such mechanism, said the minister.

He said the virus had brought unprecedented ramifications on both global and national resources, grossly diminishing the country's capacity to address Batswana's health care needs.

Despite the country's adoption of a multi-pronged approach in COVID-19 case management, there were still some concerns including limited resources and adverse effects of disease mutation and new variants.

Minister Dikoloti said health facilities were overwhelmed due to limited resources such as critical care physicians and nurses, biomedical technicians as well as relevant supplies and equipment.

He said through the country's bilateral partnerships as well as facilitation by WHO, his ministry had appealed for technical assistance to complement local efforts in the implementation of the COVID-19 response plan.

Dr Dikoloti said the country would emerge more capacitated and strengthened to tackle the pandemic after the completion of the team's mission.

Presenting the team, Israeli ambassador to Botswana, Mr Gershon Kedar, said his country was committed to improving and adding value to Botswana's response energies, specifically with regard to the management of SARS-COV2 positive patients.

Citing Israel's success in controlling and containing the severity of the virus, he said the existence of a mass vaccination plan proved to be the winning formula.

"Coupled with adhering to the COVID-19 health protocols such as social distancing, wearing of masks and washing of hands, vaccination is the game changer," he stressed.

Ambassador Kedar said currently, around 90 per cent of Israel's population had been vaccinated and the country was on average recording around 10 cases per day as opposed to the previous 10 000.

He said Israel would continue to provide Botswana with medical assistance as capacity allowed to promote the long standing synergy the two countries shared.

The team, which is expected to depart for Israel on May 12, will assist with the treatment of COVID-19 patients and train Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital staff.

Source : BOPA

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