TSAU: President Ian Khama last week publicly rebuked public servants after they failed to satisfactorily respond to complaints of poor service from members of the public.
During a kgotla meeting addressed by the President in Tsau village, residents complained that they had not received medication for high blood pressure for a long time. They told President Khama that medication for high blood pressure ran out at their village clinic a long time ago, forcing them to travel the long distance to Maun at great expense. They also revealed that they are at times forced to return from Maun empty handed after being told that the pills are out of stock.
“We have to go all the way to Maun to seek quality treatment because the quality of service at our local clinic is not satisfactory. In particular, we don’t have reliable supply of medication for high blood pressure,” they said.
President Khama then summoned senior officials in the Ministry of Health to come and explain why the villagers were not receiving quality health services. In response to the allegations, Deputy Permanent Secretary (clinical services) in the Ministry of Health, Botsang John told the kgotla meeting that the high blood pressure pills were available and ready for collection at Tsau clinic.
However, he was contradicted by one of the nurses, who said the clinic ran out of supply of high blood pressure pills a long time ago. Another nurse also explained that there was usually no transport to deliver drugs from Maun to remote areas. Confusion broke out at the kgotla meeting as residents asked why there seemed to be communication breakdown between the Ministry headquarters and local clinics.
It was then that President Khama lost his nerve and told the public servants to be serious.
“This doesn’t make sense to me at all. You people need to be serious. We cannot be having lame excuses like lack of transport. I cannot come all the way from Gaborone to answer for small issues such as issuance of drugs while there are people on the ground,” he said.
He warned public servants to up their game and ensure that they provide quality service to residents.
“We have deployed people to assist; they need to up their game and serve accordingly. If there is no transport like you allege, the officers should take responsibility and use their own vehicles to transport drugs even if it means doing so during weekends or holidays. I don’t want to hear these lame excuses ever again.”