The Botswana 2011 National Health Policy (BNHP11), despite the inadequate surgeons challenge, espouses and an all encompassing integrated health plan incorporating public and private medical practitioners to improve standard surgical practice providing patients quality and safe (surgical) treatment, the Health Inspectorate Director Baile Moagi has said.
Officially opening the Botswana Surgical Society (BBS) continuing medical education (CME) cum annual general meeting (AGM) event held in Gaborone on July 29, 2017 on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) Health Services Director Dr. Khumo Seipone, Moagi said based on the day’s theme: “Trauma and Damage Control”, trauma deaths, especially from road traffic accidents (RTAs), are second to HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality rates.
Dr. Seipone said: “RTAs alone are the second cause of death after HIV/AIDS. For instance, the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, reflecting information from 180 countries, indicates road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death among the 15 to 29 years age group.
“Botswana is experiencing increasing incidents of assaults and armed robberies adding up to the estimated 500 RTA year-on-year fatalities. In addition, the survivors are left with debilitating permanent disabilities posing a financial burden on the economy. The medical management of these patients includes extensive rehabilitation, costing government an enormous amount of money.”
According to the Health Services Director, BNHP11 calls MOHW to a regulatory framework review developing norms, standards and legislation harmonising and protecting health services quality. The different health professionals should be brought on board in the policy formulation and implementation of the reforms.
As an umbrella body, BSS should show commitment to the welfare, education, research work, access, advocacy, collaboration and resource mobilization for surgeons.
“Caring for patients and ensuring they receive quality and safe surgical treatment should be BSS’s core ethical values. I urge the Society to be committed and compassionate to the improvement of surgical health services quality, upholding ethical conduct of surgery and professionalism guided by professional standards, systems and structures.
“Though good surgical care delivery can be a complex task, concerted team effort, sharing experiences and total onslaught towards challenges will not only uphold strong-founded professional ethics but enhance patient care by a significant margin.
“We appreciate the volatile and immense environmental pressure working conditions. Through reliable and trustworthy peer review mechanisms, you can identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.”
Despite BSS being drawn back by teething problems of a nascent organization, MOHW appreciates its quintessential role in improving the country’s medical practice standards. Given this professional acumen, the quest to achieve CME surgical practice excellence, forge local and international surgical fraternities, should be standard etiquette. For instance, a harmonious nexus between government and private sector surgeons advances the science and art of surgery.
“This will result in a robust surgical care service that will help cut costs of having to refer patients abroad for advanced and complex surgical management. Being clinically oriented, BSS should provide operational guidance to the relevant regulatory bodies including MOHW in matters relevant to the practice of surgery.”
MOHW calls BSS to rise to the occasion given the milestone achievements in improving health care access during the last two years through the development of specialist services in various health services at district and referral hospitals. These include designated centres of excellence in specialist surgery, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology and oncology.
BSS was the result of an initiative by surgeons from various hospitals in Botswana registered on Feb 14, 2011 to promote excellence in surgical care, cultivate and promote a cordial atmosphere for the exchange of ideas within the local surgical fraternity, says Orthopaedic Surgeon and BSS Interim Secretary Dr. Thapelo R. Montshiwa.
Upon establishment, the Society set three objectives promoting the integrity of the surgical and allied professions through maintaining the highest ethical standards and professional conduct; and advancing the science and art of surgery through the creation of a proactive networking forum for surgeons and professional bodies with similar aims and objectives within and outside Botswana.
According to Dr. Montshiwa, “July 29, 2017 marked a huge milestone event hosted in Gaborone upholding the realisation of these goals, where surgeons from divergent medical disciplines drawn from across the country’s private and public sector hospitals for presentations and discussions on the management of severe trauma in Botswana.
“Nurses and medical students from the nascent University of Botswana (UB) School of Medicine also took part in the milestone event.
“SA Trauma Centre experts with years of surgical experience the Professor Pradeep. H. Navsaria of Capetown and Professor Rasik Gopal and Dr. Tamsanqa Mazibuko both based in Johannesburg gave captivating presentations on severe trauma management initiating focus dialogue.”
During the inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) BSS’s elected executive committee from practicing surgeons included Dr. Anthony Sibiya, President; Dr. Chiapo Lesetedi, Vice President; Dr. Thapelo R. Montshiwa, Secretary; Dr. Moneimang Makgasa, Assistant Secretary; Dr. Mpapho J. Motsumi, Treasurer; and Dr. Thabo Rowland and Dr. Peter Awang, Northern and Southern Regional Representatives, respectively.