It is highly likely that the ever-escalating numbers of new COVID 19 cases in the country might leave Batswana with no option but to learn to co-exist just like in the past years when they were forced to do so when HIV/AIDS ravaged the world.
Although the current turn of events have brought along serious repercussion in various disciplines on the lives of people, co-existence appears not to surprise communities in the Ngamiland region who are now used to the many setbacks which continue to befall them.
Besides COVID and animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth which is widespread here, they were in the past forced by circumstances to co-exist with the most dangerous of animals, some of them problem animals which have cost people their lives and robbed them of their freedom to walk around freely.
At a one day COVID 19 awareness workshop hosted by Tshidilo Stimulation Centre in Maun, Dr Sandra Maripe of Ngamiland District Health Management Team (DHMT) stressed the need for the centre management to ensure and encourage frequent decontamination of surfaces and all work stations, especially that they deal with fragile children who might not know what is expected of them.
She advised that the centre management should have a risk communication plan and that all children aged two years and below should not wear masks because naturally they are nose breathers who might not adjust easily because of discomfort. She noted that should a member of staff feel sick, they must stay home, especially those showing flu like symptoms so as to protect the children.
Apart from Matshwane clinic which has been designated to take in suspected cases of COVID 19, Maripe said another clinic in Disana area has been identified by the DHMT as a flu centre, considering it is winter season.
An official from Love Botswana Outreach mission Bokani Thekwini said at the meeting that people should desist from disseminating false information about COVID 19, because otherwise they might end up sharing fears which have ability to take others into the deep.
She advised also that as a nation, people can only wish COVID away and acknowledge things they know they cannot control because no one knows how long it is going to stay.
Should all safety measures be followed at Tshidilo as required by health specialists, they might find themselves on the safe side because according to centre manager Ramoremi Mphothwe, they are very compliant and are more than ready to re-open. Although theirs is just a small number of twenty six day students in total, Mphothwe made mention that they are a little different from other organizations because they deal with children of various ailments and disabilities who need extra care for them to keep up. He said they only admit children with mild disabilities and they do not have under two’s.
As it stands now, the centre does not have a resident nurse, but Mphothwe is adamant that their good working relations with Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital whose medical personnel are always ready to offer a helping hand will yield good results and strengthened even more, especially during these trying times. He stated that their children are always given first priority at the hospital and that health officials pay them routine visits from time to time.
He added that there is also a standing policy that children who fall sick while at home should be taken straight to the hospital by their families and not come to school altogether. For those who fall sick while at school, he said there is a sick bay where such kids are isolated from others. Their staff, he said, is now more learned and capacitated on how they are going to run the centre going forward.
“We are more knowledgeable than before and are prepared to re-open our special needs unit anytime soon. I wish to give thanks also to the Ministry of Health for having availed funds to fumigate our centre. This shows that they see and value our continued efforts of taking care of children who cannot do a thing for themselves. It is for this reason that we will forever be grateful for all assistance directed our way, he said”.