Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ministry of Health: the ups and downs!

Dear Editor

It would be totally unfair if we always pondered over the inadequacies of the Ministry of Health and did not highlight the good that has come. Recently, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we got a raise in salary as the medical fraternity across the board. It came after extensive discussions and months of disillusionment. For that we were very grateful and applause is due to the Ministry. This was, I believe, a vital step in the right direction as the workforce was very disheartened and that was definitely evident in the hospital day-to-day activities!

However, I must add that, if there is going to be a call for world class medical practice, then world class, or, at least, the pay structure of our neighbours could be emulated to achieve further improvement for which there is plenty of room!
Unfortunately, conditions have not improved and we feel that the salary structure still needs to be upgraded.

With the continuous shuffling of administrators at Princess Marina continuing, there is no stability and our calls for improvement are falling on deaf ears. Working there continues to be demoralising indeed. Unfortunately, incompetent administrators, like Dr Malefho (a supposed trauma specialist and now ?pushing paper?) continue to occupy ?seats of control? from where change could be achieved. We only hope that change does occur.

In a recent article in the Gazette (I think it was), there was a direct attack on the Minister of Health, Sheila Tlou, where competent members of the political arena, namely Rre Molefhabangwe and Pono Mopatlhodi, were questioning the state of affairs in her ministry.

Unfortunately, I would have to disagree with Rre Molefhabangwe where he commended the Minister of Health?s response to the Diarrhoea outbreak. In this day and age of medical advancement, it was actually embarrassing to witness the death of over 400 babies because of the outbreak. This clearly highlighted the inappropriate health care management in the country.
Our Hospital, Princess Marina, was acting like a large district hospital/clinic as children were being referred for simple, life saving rehydration through drip administration which should be tackled in the periphery.
There is such resistance from the administrators to actually adopt models of health care from countries where health care is decentralised.
There is too much old thought and infinite meetings and more meetings which plague the public sector; we need new ideas and action! The old guard must either learn?or just leave.

Finally, the Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate, highlighted, and, more importantly, recognised the need to appreciate and reward the healthcare professionals, especially the Batswana, so that they do not emigrate taking their much needed skills away from the country. As much as the influx of Cubans and Chinese medical professions has helped us a great deal, it has, unfortunately, provided the Minister an easy, short term and cheaper alternative, thus she does not seem to care when her own people are leaving and calling for improved conditions.

I firmly believe that the only way change will come is when it is quickly realised that there is indeed need for change. Acknowledgement is very important. I somehow do not believe that the Minister of Health can now ridicule her own members of Parliament, as she did with us, as they too are echoing what the medical officers have been trying to highlight. The Minister should stop being so defensive for a change and for a minute start listening to the electorate. More importantly, she must listen to the medical personnel on the floor with recommendations?not to those administrators behind their office desks who are aloof to what is actually happening

Dr Mokgethi (Concerned practitioner.)

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.