It has been almost two years now since the Masisi Foundation was formed in order to raise funds for patients in need of kidney, heart or liver transplants and, eventually, to advocate for government policy to effect transplants and to set up an organ Bank in Botswana. Many Batswana continue to suffer at the hands of chronic kidney failure and are in desperate need of kidney donors and funds to see their health off.
In Botswana though, organ donation is shunned as it is a traditional inclination that people be buried. Batswana generally believe in conducting funerals for their deceased and, therefore, seemingly have a long way in having their own Organ Bank.
Elliot Molate is one of many Batswana in desperate need of a kidney donor, after having been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure last year. According to Molate’s wife, her husband was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure in October 2007 and is on peritoneal dialysis as a temporary measure to help his situation.
She further asserts that life has taken a drastic turn since the diagnosis, pointing out that they now have to do most things differently.
“It is very hard for us, especially when he is unwell; he needs extreme care and hygiene to prevent him contacting any bacteria,” she says. She also cites how it has been financially straining for them as they were initially seeing a private doctor.
“Before we consulted the Masisi Foundation, we were on our own; we had to cover medication costs and we were seeing our own private doctor and the medication was just too expensive,” she says.
Mrs. Molate also revealed that she is of the belief that people should start donating their body organs to help those in need of them. She acknowledged the Masisi Foundation, friends and family for the support and counseling they offered them during their dark times. She reveals that the Masisi Foundation organized for them to be seen by specialists at Marina and in South Africa under the government’s care and they did not have to pay for the private doctor’s visits anymore. She also says that they have received help from OrthoSurge.
Though such is the case, Molate still has yet a long way to go as he is still in need of a kidney donor and funds to effect the transplant which, like many others, will be performed outside the country.
“We have not raised enough money yet there is one willing donor and we are still awaiting results,” the wife revealed despairingly. “We don’t know the outcome.”
His situation has not deteriorated yet but his wife and two children fear the worst, thus family and friends decided to open a separate account for Molate in an effort to raise funds for him.
“The money in the account has come in handy because whenever an emergency arises, we can draw from the account to use it,” Molate says.
He added that to raise the money, family and friends generated some of it but mainly asking for donations.
Molate believes that “with illnesses that have sprung up today, one should never bear the burden alone but go public with it to ask for help,” adding that he even has informed his colleagues at the Department of Veterinary Services under the Ministry of Agriculture who are still in the process of opening a Trust fund to assist him and any employee who might be faced with such problems in the future.
“Kidney failure is very dangerous as you never know what disease you have and only realize when the situation has deteriorated,” Molate says. He relates that before he was diagnosed his lips would get swollen, and was constantly tired and doctors would only say he had an allergy, which he says made him confused as he never had allergies before.
Botswana currently does not have the necessary facilities or expertise for crucial operations like organ transplants to be performed locally, many Batswana await the time when such can be done locally. But also, the Batswana still have to be willing organ donors. As for Molate, time is something he hasn’t got.
(For any donations give to the Masisi Foundation Barclays Bank Gaborone, Mall Branch, Account No: 1070655 OR Barclays Bank of Botswana Limited, Account No.: 3/139663
Branch code 290467)