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Lack of equipment undermines Coronavirus fight

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Medical supplies from Jack Ma Foundation to fight the coronavirus PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Asituational report findings shows that Serowe/Palapye and Okavango isolation centres are not fully functional because they do not have adequate equipment. Due to the state of affairs, the facilities cannot admit coronavirus patients, the report says.

The internal report dated March 19, 2020 also reflects that Isolation Centres and Case Management Designated Areas for Serowe old IHS has 25 beds, four nurses and a doctor but functionally it is not ready together with the Okavango one located in Gumare (eye clinic),

For instance, it has one nurse but no medical doctor, has shortage of ambulances, is not equipped, there is no water supply and a bathroom is yet to be built. Okavango is nearer Mohembo border with Namibia and Palapye is near Martin’s Drift border.

The report also reveals that Okavango has one bed, Gantsi has no ambulance though it needs one while Kasane has only two beds and South East District has no ambulance and refers its cases to Sir Ketumile Masire Hospital. 

Still on the report, the country 104 suspected cases, 72 negatives while 33 people are awaiting results. A total of 278 are quarantined home.

“Total number of people who are on home quarantine is 278 (237 from Gaborone, 29 from Palapye, five from South East, three from North East and four from Chobe). So far, 38 people have completed 14 days of home quarantine without any signs and symptoms of Covid-19,” it

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says.

The report says on March 1, 2020 a National Health Laboratory (NHL) received a WHO Consultant Dr Ivy Asante from Ghana, a specialist in laboratory science who was in the country for two weeks.

It says Dr Asante has trained six laboratory scientists to start testing of the samples locally and also assisted in setting the workflow and processes, in order to optimise infection control measures.

The report indicates that NHL currently has the capacity to test between 50-150 specimens per week.

“Viral Transport Media has been received and will be sent to the districts in order to capacitate them to collect samples. Once testing starts, the results will be available with 48-72 hours of receiving the specimens.

National Health Laboratory has finalised a Framework of Contract with Botswana Bureau of Standards which will facilitate servicing and maintenance of the Bio-safety Cabinet and pipettes which are key to the COVID-19 testing laboratory,” the report says.

It also says the Government formed a National Covid-19 task-force, chaired by President Mokgweetsi Masisi through Office of the Presidency to coordinate COVID-19 activities at national level.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is the Secretariat and also provides technical guidance to the task force.



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