Mmegi Blogs :: Mass Innoculation?
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Thursday 18 January 2018, 13:00 pm.
Mass Innoculation?

The Monitor’s guest columnist this week, Jeff Ramsay, teased us with his selection of 50 facts about this country, some being of major importance and interest and others being mere footnotes.
By Sandy Grant Wed 12 Oct 2016, 18:22 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Mass Innoculation?

First, “during the 1920s, the Bangwaketse pioneered the creation of a universal health service …universal”  meaning that every man, woman and child in Gangwaketse had health coverage, from birth to death. How was the scheme financed, how was it administered and what kinds of health services were included? More information please.  Second, “in the 1950s, through the efforts of Dr Alfred Merriweather, Botswana residents became the first people in the world to be totally inoculated with penicillin.”

How was this possible? From where was finance obtained? How could a single, small mission hospital have provided such a national service? No outreach programmes then existed, the medical service was rudimentary, most people lived in remote and inaccessible settlements, there were no facilities for the storage and transport of penicillin, and there were no trained field workers. In the 1960s, there was an outbreak of measles which, it was reported, had been responsible for the deaths of a number of children. Working then for the Christian Council, I told Dr Standing, the Director of Medical Services, that Church World Service, NY would provide vaccines were he to make a request. Initially he declined, insisting that to ask for outside help would be to publicly recognise a problem that could not be overcome – thus aggravating the situation. How did Dr Merriweather overcome such an attitude?  More information please.  Third, “Bakwena regiments adopted modern conical bullets before the militaries of America, Britain and Russia”. Perhaps so.

 But they could not have been adopted unless those


countries had been producing them for some time in great quantities. More information,  please. Fourth, “Botswana’s eastern border with South Africa was originally the eastern boundary of the Bakwena, Bangwaketse and the Bangwato kingdoms”

How can this be true when the Bakwena, for instance, were settled on the further side of the Tlokweng and Ramotswa borders? is it not correct that the border was defined as a result of more complicated historical factors? More information please.  Fifth, “the exiled wing of the ANC, along with MK, was launched in Lobatse in November 1962.’ Nothing new about this information but Hilda Bernstein’s description of Lobatse at that time suggested that the British Special Branch had an awesomely tight hold on the place.

That being the case, the ANC’s initiative could only have happened if the British had turned a blind eye or that Bernstein had overstated the sheer awfulness that then prevailed. Which? Sixth, “Senang Distela born before 1820, died 1945, was the oldest known human being of the 20th century.  In the 1930s, he was interviewed by BBC, SABC, and NBC.”

Previously published information from the same authority stated that he was 127-year-old when he died. Strangely, the outside world after the 1930s, lost interest and he was not interviewed in the10-15-years prior to his death. The significance of this information item relates not to the man but to the confirmation that Botswana could not have been the remote, inaccessible, and unknown place that it was  routinely stated to be.


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