Francistown Mayor Sylvia Muzila has expressed hope and confidence in local scientific researchers finding cure for HIV/Aids.
Speaking during the first day of the three day Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) and Mission Schools Research Conference in Francistown on Monday, she said local researchers should emulate international researchers, work extra hard and aim to produce results that would make an impact.
“International researchers have discovered drugs such as the Anti-Retro Viral drugs and it is possible that local researchers could make a breakthrough in finding the cure of HIV/ if they put an extra effort. They should not undermine themselves. Through research international health researchers have managed to produce vaccines and drugs which have saved lives the world over,” she said.
Muzila emphasized that local researchers should take advantage of local medicinal herbs and plants such as Sengaparile (Devil’s claw), Moringa and others in their research to produce results that would have an impact in people’s lives. She said that she is looking forward a day when a Motswana researcher would be recognized internationally for making a ground breaking medical discovery through research,” she said.
The devils claw (Sengaparile) which is found in some parts of Botswana is known for its medicinal purposes in fighting ailments among others, arthritis, gout, muscle pain, chest pains and fever. On the other hand Moringa tree is also believed to provide extreme nourishment to the human body.
Muzila further lauded the Ministry of Health, IHS and Mission Schools for bringing the conference to Francistown as such would help the second city in its quest for development especially on issues relating to health.
The mayor touched on the recent outbreak of diarrhea in Francistown adding that if there was enough research, such would have been avoided. Last week the Francistown District Health Management Team announced that 14 children tested positive with Bilharzia which is a water-borne disease.
“ If much research was done such outbreaks could have been avoided. As you embark in these three day conference, I want to urge you to discuss on how research can be used to circumvent such problems,” she said.
Giving a brief overview and background of the IHS and Mission Schools Research conference, the Principal of IHS in Francistown, Mantate Manyothwane said the conference is a brain child of the former principals of the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) and mission schools. She said these leaders acknowledged the need for the academicians to always meet and share the latest ideas and observations that affect teaching or learning environment.
“The former principals realized the continuous evolution that education as a phenomena goes through hence the need for strong research culture to enable educators or educationists to continue to be relevant to the educational setting. These conferences come every two years and the first one was hosted by the Institute of Health Sciences Gaborone and the second was hosted in Serowe in 2014. There was a gap in between due to some challenges that were encountered,” Manyothwane said.
She said over the years, the conferences have continued to be supported by the Ministry of Health. Manyothwane added that the Institute of Health Sciences and mission schools have continued to contribute some funds to help the hosting institutions to successfully deliver the research conference. She said the three day conference which is expected to end on Wednesday is a culmination of a long and tedious preparatory journey.
“It began sometimes last year with the launch and unveiling of the research conference theme and sub themes and the research conference website. It was then followed by rigorous marketing. All these hard work was done in two levels. The first level was the internal level which comprises of members from the host institutions and the second level was done by the national organizing committee which had members from all institute of health sciences and mission schools and other members from Francistown HIS College.