Newly appointed Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, has urged all stakeholders, including government, the private sector, communities and churches to play their part in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
Speaking during the launch of Month of Prayer on Sunday in Sefhare, Dikoloti said the pandemic has radically changed the way people live and how business is conducted.
He, however, pointed out that valuable lessons have been learnt from the fight against Covid-19.
“Perhaps the most important lesson is that; we can only defeat Covid-19 when all stakeholders join forces to fight from one corner,” said Dikoloti.
While the focus this year is mainly on HIV and Covid-19, the minister said the nation should also be mindful of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which equally remain a serious public health threat.
“As we grapple with the twin problem of HIV and Covid-19, I would like to remind the public to remain ever vigilant and guard against risk factors for NCDs such as the use of tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating habits and obesity,” said Dikoloti.
The minister indicated hat of late there has been an increase in the deaths that are attributed to NCDs such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions.
“According to the NCDs risk factors survey of 2014, 306 percent of Batswana are overweight and obese, 18 percent smoke, 20 percent do not engage in physical activity, while 95 percent do not eat fruits and vegetables.”
Globally, NCD driven mortalities are said to be the leading causes of death, and in Botswana they were estimated to account for 46 percent of all deaths in 2016.
“Among these deaths, 18 percent were due to cardiovascular disease, 7 percent due to cancer, 4 percent due to chronic respiratory diseases, while 6 percent were due to diabetes,” revealed the minister.
The Month of Prayer dates as far back as 1996 when the government facilitated the establishment of Botswana Christian Aids Intervention Programme (BOCAIP).
The aim of the programme was further the national AIDS response through the mobilization of the faith based community to meaningfully tackle HIV.