Member of Parliament for Bobirwa Shaw Kgathi over the weekend hosted 50 health professionals under the auspices of Health 1st Foundation who were in Bobonong to consult the elderly at a Veterans Wellness Day that was held at Madikwe primary school. Kgathi said in his endeavour to show compassion and care for the elderly in his constituency, he approached Health 1st Foundation to bring various health experts for consultation with old folks in the area. He said after realising that many elderly people in his constituency were constrained in travelling to Gaborone and Francistown to seek specialised medical attention; he saw the need to bring the medical doctors to the people. Speaking at the event, which had attracted approximately 800 elderly people from Bobonong and its periphery, the Chairperson of Health 1st Foundation Annah Mathiba said their benevolent gesture was part of Botswana’s Independence celebrations and an appreciation of the role that the elderly have played in the development of the country. She said the objectives of the Veterans Wellness Day were to contribute towards the ability of individual community members, especially the elderly, to identify and address their own health issues, needs and priorities in order to improve their physical, emotional and occupational wellbeing. Mathiba also said the aim was to prevent and manage chronic illnesses. Health 1st Foundation is a non-profit organisation made up of health professionals who volunteer their time and expertise, for social good, benefiting mainly those people who live on the socio-economic margins of communities, especially the elderly. She applauded Kgathi for going all out to make sure the event materialises. Kgathi provided free accommodation and meals to the health experts and slaughtered a cow for lunch to the elderly who came for medical checkups in large number. Health 1st Foundation was formed in recognition of relatively poor health as a major challenge amongst the elderly. For the whole of Saturday, the elderly were taken through health screening for various ailments such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, mal-nutrition, dental disorders, cataracts and other ophthalmic disorders, HIV, musculoskeletal disorders, psycho-social counselling, breast and cervical cancer. 100 elderly people were issued with reading glasses after rigorous eye tests. They were also taken through healthy eating regime and advised to observe the requirements of a balanced diet. One of the volunteer health specialists, Dr Tebo Maseko told the elderly that they did not have to buy expensive food for healthy eating as indigenous and readily available food such as phane and morogo were also abundantly nutritious. The team of health experts was led by renowned Public Health Specialist Dr Marape Marape who is also the trustee of Health 1st Foundation. Marape said the elderly were chosen as a target group for the event in recognition of the fact they generally bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality from chronic, but often preventable diseases whereas at the same time their access and utilization of health care services is often suboptimal. The spokesperson for Health 1st Foundation Oscar Motsumi hailed the event as a success and said they always get gratification from being able to help the elderly and in turn giving back to the country. He said they have so far attended to the elderly in Tonota, Tsamaya and Rakops and plans were underway to visit other areas in the country. He thanked their various sponsors who included among others MVA, Trade World group of companies, Zambezi Motors and Choppies.