The recurrent and development budget proposals of 2018-2019 for the Ministry of Health and Wellness have shown that Botswana is faced with a problem of blindness.
Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Dikgang Makgalemele said his ministry has partnered with others locally and internationally to reduce blindness due to cataract.
“For instance, Doctor Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital from India has since June 2016 partnered with the Ministry to perform cataract surgeries. This year, the Indian team together with a local ophthalmology team have restored vision for 2,324 people by performing 1,059 surgeries as well 1,265 surgeries at Scottish Livingstone and Sekgoma Memorial hospitals, respectively. The local team continues to perform surgeries on a weekly basis,” the report states.
Makgalemele said to address refractive error that is a challenge, especially amongst schoolgoing children; his ministry is working hand-in-hand with private optometrists to assist with refractive services.
The assistant minister
“Through this partnership, three children’s vision services ophthalmic nurses, one low vision therapist and four primary school teachers have been trained on early identification, referral and management of children with low vision. The trained team has started practicing,” he said.
On Malaria, the assistant minister said the epidemiology of malaria in this country keeps on changing from one transmission season to another.
He said the change is usually with relationship to the amount of rainfall in the season.
“For example in 2016, there were 702 Malaria cases and 3 deaths compared to 1,777 cases and 15 deaths in 2017,” he said.