. Reality of sickness and deathBotswana has not been spared from the cruel and devastating effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.
. This is the reality that remains a great concern to the SKI KHAMA FOUNDATION
In his national address on Friday the President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi reported a continuing trend of exponential growth in the rates of infection and death, and the need for any and every effort to be made to contain the ravaging Corona Virus.One of the leading news networks, CNN, in the United States has reported that Botswana is in the same position as some of the worst affected populations such as in the State of Florida. America’s own authority on infectious diseases Dr Anthony Fauci has emphasised the need for countries to do all they can to fight the dreaded Covid 19 pandemic.
Inability of Government to find and obtain sufficient quantities of vaccines:
It is not in dispute that the country is running critically short of not only vaccines but essential supplies of everything from test kits, to oxygen concentrators and related health care supplies. Government hospitals and clinics have reported that they are now forced to send very sick Batswana back to their homes as there is neither room to accommodate them for treatment and care, nor vaccines to protect the population from worsening in the event of getting infected.
While the Foundation would like to believe that the Presidential Covid 19 Task Force, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the rest of government are doing all they can to fight the pandemic, government by its own admission is unable to secure, obtain and bring to Botswana sufficient quantities of vaccines to relieve the country of the misery brought about by the pandemic by vaccinating our population. This has come up in several government reports and updates to the nation.
Efforts of the Foundation to Assist.
The one and only objective of the Foundation in its recent efforts to help find vaccines was so that government could use the said vaccines to save lives and relieve Batswana from despair and hopelessness due to Covid 19. Two million each of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech were available to Botswana having been secured through the Foundation’s network of partners.
We submitted the offer to the government of Botswana and indicated the timelines for purchase as set by the manufacturers who had the vaccines in stock. At no time did the Foundation or its facilitators claim or pretend to be able to purchase, supply or take possession of the vaccines. As we explained, the legal purchasing of vaccines is exclusively reserved for governments across the world. The Foundation’s role here was only to connect government with the manufacturers of the vaccines, following government’s challenge in managing to obtain sufficient quantities. The next logical steps were for the government of Botswana to begin the normal chain of procurement which includes verification of everything about the vaccines on offer including affordability and timelines. It was entirely at the discretion of the government of Botswana whether or not to buy all of the vaccines or any of them at all having satisfied itself with or without the participation of the Foundation in the negotiation process. Naturally it would have been easier on government to involve the Foundation in the process for obvious reasons.
The Foundation had and still has no intention or agenda whatsoever to frustrate government’s efforts, to duplicate government efforts, or fight government over acquisition of vaccines but only to supplement and assist.
With that in mind the Foundation has refrained from making any provocative or premature public statements on its own or in reaction to commentary that is in the public domain.
Absence of Feedback from Government and consequences:
Regrettably we have neither received nor heard any response or reaction from government to our offer. The five-day timeline set by the manufacturers lapsed on Friday and this now means that the vaccines may no longer be available to Botswana. The absence of any form of feedback from the government means that we are not aware of any difficulty or success that the government might have had in acting on the offer that we had put forth to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
In the meantime, the Foundation continues to receive enquiry and requests from individuals, institutions and non-governmental leaders in the country who see the dire straits and distress that the country has been plunged into by the shortage and lack of Covid 19 vaccines and medical equipment.
It is crucially important that in the crisis situation that we are in, all of us should use our best energies to save lives and work together for the love of the country and its people.
It is also important that the information we share should be anchored in compassion and empathy, and free of contradictions and sensationalism. For that reason, we cannot afford behind the scenes dishonesty and sabotage of well-intended initiatives. Neither can we afford to project political point scoring or stunts when saving lives.
The Foundation, its Chairman and Board are deeply saddened by the narrative that the genuine attempt to facilitate the government of Botswana is somehow a joke or a stunt or even a creation of some antagonistic centre of power towards government. Signed: Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo – Chief Executive Officer