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VP calls for strategies to retain health professionals

14 Mar 2023

Vice President, Mr Slumber Tsogwane has implored the Ministry of Health to urgently come up with strategies that will assist the country to retain health professionals.

Commenting on the ministry’s proposed budget for the 2023/2024 financial year on Monday, Mr Tsogwane said migration of health workers to other countries in search of greener pastures worsened shortage of personnel in health facilities around the country.

“Know their challenges and engage strategies to retain them,” said Mr Tsogwane.

He said review of the National Health Policy, Health Financing Strategy and the Human Resource Strategy was among those that required utmost attention in order to serve the people at the desired pace and with relevant service.

Nonetheless, the Vice President, also Member of Parliament for Boteti West, commended the Ministry of Health for activities aimed at improving policies and strategies in the delivery of health care services.

Mr Tsogwane was adamant that engaging people on preventative measures was key towards having a healthy nation.

He indicated that historically, Boteti was among the areas that were prone to Malaria and as such high numbers of infections were registered annually during the peak season.

However, he noted that the situation had improved tremendously due to the effective preventative measures by the health practitioners.

“I am happy of the said developments as incidents of Malaria are now low in Boteti and other Malaria prone areas across the country,” he said.

He further urged the ministry to intensify campaigns in fighting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

“Intensify education, some of the NCDs we get them by choice. Therefore our people must be educated to make informed decisions,” he said.

Again, he said some people got infected with disease such as lung cancer by their choice of smoking tobacco.

“Spend more of your energy on fighting the use of tobacco and engage our people to understand diseases that will come as a result of using tobacco,” he said.

He urged people to reduce intake of sweet or sugary foods  arguing that such contributed immensely to NCDs.

He said the Food Control Act of 1993 was long due and its review was to be done urgently.

In his presentation of the ministry’s budget proposals for the 2023/2024 financial year earlier, Acting Minister of Health, Mr Sethomo Lelatisitswe said the development of Tobacco Control Act regulations was at an advanced stage. He said the plan was to complete them on time for  implementation next month.

He said through the Tobacco and Tobacco Products Levy, a total of 11 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were engaged to assist in running programmes such as awareness on harmful effects of tobacco products, benefits of quitting tobacco and rehabilitation services.

He also said review of the Food Control Act of 1993 was also in progress, adding “input from key stakeholders have been incorporated to close the gaps that were identified during the consultation process.”

The National Health Policy, he said was at a stage where priority setting, policy vision, mission and objectives were being drafted.

“Health sector dialogue meetings were held in October and November last year as part of consensus building as well as to integrate important commitments such as Universal Health Coverage, Sustainable Development Goals and the National Vision 2036 aspirations for health,” he added.

Parliament also heard that the road map on Health Financing Strategy development was expected to be completed during the 2023/2024 financial year to improve the efficiency of the current health financing mechanisms and ensure that people had access to a wide range of cost-effective health services.

Additionally, he said the Human Resources for Health Strategy was also being reviewed and a brief assessment had been conducted and a road map had been developed to guide its development process.

He added that its completion would pave way for the review of the Botswana Human Resource for Health Strategic Plan 2008-2016 and enable annual reporting to Global Health Observatory platform in compliance with the 2016 resolutions of the World Health Assembly. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 14 Mar 2023