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Hungry babies cry across Ngamiland

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As we sit outside Maun main clinic for a quick interview, Keamogetse’s (not her real name) begins to rumble.

It is a pitiful, painful sound but the 25-year-old single mother of two is too preoccupied to notice.

She is more concerned with comforting her malnourished four-month-old baby while at the same time stopping her two-year-old from wandering off to worry about her empty stomach.

“He is hungry. Hopefully today we will be given formula milk because he is refusing to drink porridge!” Keamogetse explains, gesturing sadly to her unhappy baby boy as she notes that for the last two-months he has not received the free food supplement from the government clinic.

“Each time I am told the milk is finished. I had only managed to buy two small tins of milk worth around P200, but he fished them within two weeks. I am not working and have no source of income, so I have decided to introduce the baby to solid food.”

The desperate mum says they have been depending on the supplementary feed of the two-year-old daughter, the soya bean meal called Tsabana.

But that has also run out.

“For the past three months, we have not been getting Tsabana. Every time we come to the clinic we find it already depleted. That is what I could be at least feeding the baby,” says the teary-eyed lady, struggling to maintain her composure in front of her children.

She is well aware it is too early to introduce the baby to solids.

However, as she grimly highlights, there is no alternative.

“I cannot watch my baby starve to death. I cannot afford the milk and it is not by choice that I am not breastfeeding. It is due to health reasons. But the nurses say I am only allowed to collect from this clinic as that is where I am registered!”

Blinking back stubborn tears, Keamogetse turns away and reaches for her bag. She retrieves a maize snack for the older child, explaining she used her last coin to buy it so that her daughter does not envy other children’s meal packs.

“This one knows she does not have to cry for what is not hers. Whenever I am able, she gets to enjoy the good food.”

Her turn to weigh her children comes and her baby does not get mandatory immunization because the injection is finished.

“I am told he will be immunized when we come for weighing next month!”

There is no milk either.

Keamogetse’s case is not unusual in Maun and the Ngamiland district, with many parents complaining of a shortage of drugs and supplementary feeds since the beginning of the year.

However, the government insists they have enough medications and all feed supplies are abundant in its storages.

According to the Ngamiland District Health Management Team (DHMT), “It is not true that there is shortage of medicine in our area. Even if we run short of necessary drugs such as paracetamol, customers are given Iburofen for instance.”

The DHMT Public Relations Officer, Batisane Mokgethi added that currently the district is well stocked with vital drugs, which are at 98 percent availability.

“Necessary drugs means they are necessary but not life threatening and vital drugs are those that one cannot live without.”

Mokgethi further denied any shortage of baby milk and supplementary feeds, stating that if clinics have depleted their stock, ‘customers’ were free to collect from other health centres.

For Keamogetse and her hungry children, his words leave a bitter taste.

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Block 8 nurse challenges Covid-19 test results

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A nurse who allegedly tested positive of Covid-19 during the emergency parliament session has given the Ministry of Health and Wellness up to next week Tuesday to respond to his legal demands as he believes that the test results were fake.

The victim, Morobi Dinao, a nurse at Block 8 Gaborone has made demands that the ministry give him signed results by the person who carried out the laboratory tests.

Dinao was diagnosed at a special parliament sitting in April, his supposed positive results leading to all MPs and those who attended the session to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

According to legal documents from Ndadi law firm, the 37-year-old nurse was admitted at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital on the 9th of April after he was told he tested positive.

On the 13th he demanded to see his results but was sent from pillar to post and the hospital could not give him the results.

He kept on demanding his results and on the 19th of April he was shown the results through his glass door from outside by one Dr Feledi.

Dinao allegedly asked for a copy of the results but the Doctor said he would revert to him after consulting with his superiors.

He was given his results when he was discharged on the 24th of April.

There was no explanation of the results and the document was also not signed hence the suspicion that they were not authentic.

Some of the things that made him suspicious, he says, are that the specimen submission form that carries his results is markedly from the one he completed on the day of tests.

He says the form does not have the laboratory personnel signature portion yet the one he duly completed had it.

The demands are that MOH should give an account of the delay of initial results.

Dinao’s lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi, told The Voice Online that they are awaiting response to their client’s demands before they can take the next step.

“I do not understand how a doctor can seek for his superior’s permission to give a patient his own results. How do you get admitted without seeing your results and told we are following the instructions to admit you? A lot is questionable in the whole scenario,” said Ndadi.

Ndadi further said he’ll await his client’s instruction before considering any court action.

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No water supply in Maun this weekend

*Main water pipe raptured at Nxaraga

*70% water supply shut down for maintenance work

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Most parts of Maun and surrounding areas are expected to experience a dry spell this weekend as the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) cuts water supply for the next two days.

The department’s head of business, Thabo Ndadi, explained that seventy percent supply of water in and around Maun will be shut down to allow for maintenance of main water pipe to the area.

“This week we discovered that our main water pipe that brings in water from Kunyere boreholes has raptured and thus unable to adequately supply water,” explained Ndadi.

Ndadi further confirmed that they started noticing the leak last month but avoided tempering with it as it was during the lockdown and when the country had just reported first cases of the killer Covid-19 disease.

“Our hope and prayer was that the leak would not become so bad before the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, but the water pressure has gone down and therefore we have to fix the problem and we cannot do it without temporarily cutting the flow,” added Ndadi.

Seventy percent of water supply in Maun is from boreholes along Kunyere river in Nxaraga area, while the other two boreholes in Shashe and Sexaxa make up the remaining thirty percent.

“This effectively means Maun will be running with a seventy percent water shortage and we are pleading with members of the community to use water with extra care,” Ndadi added.

In fact some areas will go dry for over 24 hours and WUC has advised people to store water for weekend use today because from tomorrow, taps will be completely dry. “Many other homes will get water way beyond the 24 hours, because after maintenance the water has to make a long journey to reach the taps, for some it will take 48 hours or so. In fact the whole recovery process takes seven days so, it may be practically impossible to complete the recovery within 24 hours.”

Meanwhile Thamalakane river has started to fill up, but the WUC water treatment plant in Borolong is yet to start pumping water from the river as they have to wait for at least a month for the water “to be of better quality to be processed for consumption. Right now the water volume is still low for such an exercise but the plant is ready to start operations. Already we have begun testing the water for quality and it not yet where we want it to be,” Ndadi said.

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