A Reflection on the nation in a State of Emergency – a final analysis of the othered

Following the declaration of the state of emergency, a countrywide lockdown, dubbed a period of extreme social distancing, was announced.

Explored in the earlier chapters or pieces in this we looked at the impact of the limitations included in the measures taken in responding to the pandemic, on various communities, women of who were already vulnerable, and some who were made vulnerable, or more vulnerable, by the limitations introduced. In this final instalment, we explore yet another community, othered by COVID-19 response measures. The operational framework and its various stages were an important way to ensure that there is tracking of new infections, the numbers of people who had lost their lives to the pandemic, and to keep Batswana and the rest of the world informed of the state of the country. For the most part, it COVID-19 task force, led by what was unfolding, would make announcements of the state of things in the country, which necessitated either a ban on alcoholic beverages, limitations in interzonal movement, or the closure of borders. Invariably, these measures affected all of us.

The question though is, did they see us?! In implementing measures to supposedly protect those in Botswana, were Batswana central to the response by government and country leadership, as directed by the taskforce? The final population impacted by the lockdowns and state of emergencies, which resulted in impacted livelihoods, were those living with HIV and AIDS. When lockdowns were introduced, there appears to have been no consideration for people living with HIV and AIDS, who would need access to healthcare facilities for anti-retro viral treatment or medication. Although any person could seek a medical permit, where one lives with their family who may not yet know of their status, how was one to explain their absence, without visiting stigma onto themselves in the ways we have seen it alive in our society? Access to quality healthcare and in this case in the form of medication could no longer be a priority, when bread and butter became the main concern and people just wanted to survive. To bring in context, Botswana is a country which, very recently lived through her own AIDS pandemic.

Editor's Comment
Routine child vaccination imperative

The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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