With the number of the positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the rise, the country’s health care system is proving to feel the strain.
Batswana in quarantine and isolation are bemoaning poor service from health workers due to increasing numbers of contacts to be traced. “My experience has been very frustrating since I tested and had to beg for my results until I got them after a week of waiting. At times they would even tell me they had no airtime to call me. This is a scary situation because some people cannot be that patient and eventually go out before getting their results,” a frustrated patient told The Monitor anonymously.
According to the source, they self-isolated after experiencing the symptoms on September 24 and tested on the 27th, but only got the results on October 2 at night after constantly calling to check for results. He was then taken to a designated isolation area two days later in an ambulance with two other patients.
“If we continue like this we will not be able to contain the disease. I was lucky because my situation was not that bad. But one of the patients with whom we shared the ambulance was critical. If the Task Team and Ministry of Health and Wellness do not double down on their efforts we will not be able to contain the virus. People get frustrated and this may lead to some ignoring instructions from health workers who are overwhelmed,” he said.
Some social media users have also expressed frustration over the treatment they get while in quarantine and self-isolation lamenting failure to communicate by health workers and the Task Force.
Some of the users
Permanent secretary in the health ministry, Kabelo Ebineng said his the ministry and the Task Force are aware of the shortcomings and the need to improve, further stating that efforts are ongoing in earnest to correct sooner than later.
“Necessary resources (human and otherwise) from the government and amongst able partners (the wider healthcare system) are being mobilised in order to cope with the increasing incidence of local transmission. As you will be aware, resources across government are short. That said, we are actively seeking to correct,” he said.
Ebineng said the complementary effort of launching the COVID-19 Sentinel Surveillance study is one positive step linked to the effective contact tracing, which they all desire as a management and decision-support mechanism.
He added they are mobilising across society and partners including the Botswana Red Cross, amongst others, to raise sufficient personnel that will enhance contact tracing.
“By definition, and in line with our mandate as a ministry, it is our duty, through our 18 District Health Management Teams (DHMT) to be a significant part of the contact tracing effort and personnel. The DHMTs are a key part of the testing, sharing of results and caring for all those who need care and support at a personal and community level.
He further said they are openly welcoming the participation of the rest of society in helping them succeed in protecting lives, while working to contain the pandemic.