MoHW running short of medical supplies
Healthcare facilities understaffed
The Ministry of Health & Wellness (MoHW) has confirmed that the effect of the pandemic has stretched its capacity to cope, especially with rising cases and limited resources. Health centers across the country are currently overwhelmed since the advent of the coronavirus and the situation is deteriorating following a spike in the number of people infected with the virus.
MoHW Chief Public Relations Officer, Christopher Nyanga said theycontinue to manage all health facilities through measures such as patient bookings and decentralization of some resources and where possible, distributing services to different health facilities across the country, as a means to cope with the existing problems. “Health services continue to be offered to the best possible capacity through monitoring in line with the ministry’s mandate of provision of quality universal health care services in line with the country’s vision to attain “Health for All,” by 2036 and the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3), which aspires for good health and wellbeing for all peoples of the world,” he added.
Based on personal experience upon clinical visits, patients have taken to social media to complain about poor service, especially with regards to medication packaging, suggesting that medication was being distributed in stapled manila paper. At the recent launch of the Covishield vaccine at block 8 clinic, nurses were administering the vaccine to people without gloves, which sparked a serious cause for concern among civilians.Grievances and dissatisfaction further extend to shortage of bed spaces and unavailability of prescribed medication at dispensaries.
According to Nyanga, the ministry has received these types of adverse reports and or circumstances and active steps are being taken to correct the situation. “As part of the long-term correction process, the ministry has adopted the digitalization and e-health strategy, which will go a long way in addressing challenges like shortage of human resources and services,” he mentioned. He went on to explain that the strategy will improve access to health care, better patient outcomes and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. He further cemented that digitization will create capacity to save lives through means such as telemedicine where health experts can diagnose and treat patients remotely without the need to travel.
Nyanga affirmed that during the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, nurses were administering the vaccine without gloves. However, he explained that assessments and a determination were made that gloves are not required for routine care activities in which contact is limited to patient’s skin. “The nurses sanitize their hands before and after touching the patient. They can only use gloves when the skin is broken,” he mentioned. While addressing issues of staff shortage within health facilities, Nyanga expressed worry asthe COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for health services in Botswana and across the world. “The ministry continues to utilize its existing resources and skills optimally, to ensure that patients are not left unattended, “he reassured.