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Hailing healthcare heroines

ON THE FRONTLINE : Dr Botsile Kuiperij

According to a UN Women study on Covid-19 and Gender, women constitute 70 percent of healthcare professionals worldwide.

In Africa, the nursing staff is made up of 65 percent females while women physicians account for 28 percent of the profession.

This Valentine’s, Voice Woman chooses to acknowledge some of the young women of this noble profession and also find out how they’ll be celebrating… if at all.

Name: Dr Botsile Kuiperij, 36

Studied at: University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Specialty Area: Dentistry

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Base: Kanye DHMT

What she loves most about her job: Being able to restore my patient’s oral health and seeing them smile again.

What it’s like to be in the health sector during a pandemic.

The past few months have taught me the importance of teamwork in the health sector.

This is the only way we will succeed in the fight against COVID-19.

At first, it was scary knowing that providing dental care puts me at risk of contracting this deadly virus and that I can pass it on to my loved ones.

But after reading and understanding more about it, the fear went away.

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I always make sure I wear full protective clothing correctly when attending to patients and I do regular Covid-19 tests.

How she’ll be spending Valentine’s Day: …with hubby of course. Church service in the morning, take it easy during the day, and later enjoy dinner we’d have prepared together while watching a random show on NETFLIX.

Name: Dr Tshireletso Ramaphane-Makwape, 34

Studied at: Undergraduate – St Georges Medical University, Grenada and postgraduate – University of Botswana

Specialty area: Pediatrics and Adolescent Health

Base: Princess Marina Hospital

PEDIATRICIAN: Dr Ramaphane- Makwape

What I love about my job:

Working with children gives me inner peace because they’re innocent, pure, honest, and resilient though it can be challenging when it comes to adolescents, but all in all, they are just lovely human beings to work with.

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As much as it’s painful sometimes to see a child sick, it’s always fulfilling for me to see their little smile at the end of it all.

What it’s like to be in the health sector during a pandemic: When I signed up to be a doctor, I knew it would mean working unfavourable long hours and sometimes dealing with pandemics like the one we are facing right now.

So it’s something that I have expected; I was always ready to serve.

How she’ll be spending Valentine’s Day: Well, I won’t be working on that day so I will be spending time with my family.

Name: Dr Orapeleng Phuswane-Katse, 36

Studied at: St George’s University – Grenada, West Indies

Specialty area: Public Health Medicine

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Base: Boteti District Health Management Team

PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Dr Orapeleng Phuswane-Katse

What she loves about her job: Having to not only think about treating one person but treating the community as a whole.

My day-to-day job as a Public Health Specialist involves solving various health issues like malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses that affect our communities.

We have to come up with solutions to ensure that the community doesn’t only survive but is healthy and responsible for their health. This is what I am passionate about.

Now COVID-19 is part of the puzzle and it’s testing our health system and just how much we have prepared to ensure we get out of this pandemic healthy and well-minded.

What it’s like to be in the health sector during a pandemic:

COVID-19 has not only shown us how important health is but how important a strong healthcare system is.

Going to work every day is a struggle. We are faced with many challenges on a daily basis.

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It started with not being sure of how this novel coronavirus will behave to now not knowing if one of us will not be infected by it.

We are starting to lose those close to us; healthcare workers, family, and friends.

Every day we deliver bad news and every day we have to anticipate how we are going to tell one client to stay safe because their family member is sick.

We are challenged daily but we still survive and thrive. We will not let the virus win; we will win because our duty is to save lives and to protect this nation.

How she’ll be spending Valentine’s Day: Hopefully with family, but that is not guaranteed.

I have been on call since the pandemic began, but I am hoping to give my family a little bit of care and affection on the day.

Name: Dr Laone Paphane-Nyambe, 34

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Studied at: Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland

Specialty Area: General Dentistry

Base: Marang Dental Care, Gaborone CBD

DENTIST: Dr Laone Paphane-Nyambe

What she loves most about her job: It’s amazing how much a smile boosts someone’s confidence, and being able to restore people’s smiles and bring a bit of joy in their lives always makes me feel fulfilled.

What it’s like to be in the health sector during a pandemic:

A lot of uncertainty and fear of the unknown is what you mostly experience. When Covid-19 started, dentists were put as one of the highest risk professions for contracting the virus as you work directly in the mouth area and we produce a lot of aerosols.

So having to choose to risk one’s life and helping people is never an easy thing, but I took an oath to help people and that’s what I have to do.

Also, running my private clinic was a challenge business-wise, but we work with hope and faith; that has helped me navigate the pandemic.

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How she’ll be spending Valentine’s Day:

This year, it will be a quiet one at home with my family over a nice home-cooked meal.

We have to try and minimise movement and stay home as much as we can.

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