Residents of Lobatse have labelled the Lobatse town as a ghost town as most of the developments in the town have relocated to Gaborone. Lobatse is reportedly faced with an acute shortage of drugs in the Hospital and at most clinics across the country.
Speaking at the midterm Review of the Lobatse Urban Development Plan 3, (UDP3) the Lobatse District Commissioner, Khutsafalo Mogotsi, said that the town’s drug availability stands at 67 percent, which is below the national target of 97 percent.
“The major issue is a shortage of supply from the Central Medical Stores and efforts to purchase from local suppliers are not bearing any fruit as they also fail to deliver,” said Mogotsi.
She said that the Mayor and her councillors had taken a tour around the town and found that a lot has to be done about service delivery in Lobatse.
Lobatse Mayor, Caroline Lesang, says as an effort to mitigate shortage of drugs, a warehouse for drugs in Lobatse, is a priority for UNDP 3 and it should be taken seriously because people’s lives need to be saved.
A health officer who participated in the discussion says is it disgusting to refer a patient to get some medications at the next Clinic “but since there is nothing we can do, the best way is to advise them of the next option”.
Refusing to be named, the health worker lamented that most patients travel some distance from their nearest clinics to get assistance.
“We make orders on time,” he continued, “and the ministry has to be blamed for that, not us.”
Recently, the Minister of Health said that drug availability had generally improved across health facilities but admitted receiving reports from parliamentarians about shortages of drugs, especially at some clinics.
He said the District Health Management Team (DHMTs) needs to monitor their stock levels across their areas of jurisdiction and make appropriate orders on time.
“But now that the health officials are blaming the minister, I think action has to be taken,” said the health officer.
Some members of the Lobatse business community say that Lobatse is turning into a ghost town because investors are not interested as indicated by the number of undeveloped plots.
“The town is still lagging behind in terms of development and this leads to low morale and to some officers not being interested in working here.”
He cited as an example, the Lobatse Institute of Health Sciences, which he says has no accommodation for Health lecturers, “not even a single unit of accommodation for them”.
“There is a shortage of accommodation for government employees in Lobatse, and most of the officers commute from neighbouring places of Gaborone, Kanye and other surrounding Villages.”
Even the institution teaches general nursing, environmental Health science and Psychiatry, which is an indication that the town is really losing its image except for being praised for its history of being one of the capital cities of Botswana, said one of the Health officials who graced the event.
He said it is disgusting to hear that Lobatse is running short of drugs while the Central Medical Store is donating some drugs to countries such as Congo Brazzaville.