Though many in the country have opined that the government is slow in its response to the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Minister of Health and Wellness says Botswana started preparations early. Many are of the view that the only thing that the government of Botswana was quick to do was to impose lockdowns and State of Public Emergency. Beside that the government has been accused of dragging it’s feet when it comes to responding to COVID-19. The citizens have fingerpointed the Botswana government for being slow in buying protective clothing, medical equipment necessary, and purchasing the COVID-19 vaccine on time.
“In response to the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, Botswana started preparations early on by activating the multi-sectoral Public Health Emergency & Preparedness Committee, which was followed by establishment of a Presidential National Task Force to coordinate the response.” Dikoloti said.
The Minister was speaking during the seventy fourth (74th) World Health Organization (WHO) general assembly yesterday.
Speaking during the meeting, Dikoloti further revealed that, as an evidence of Botswana’s seriousness, six percent (6%) of the target population has been vaccinated. The target population is the people of the ages eighteen (18) years upwards. So far Botswana has received about Two Hundred and Sixty thousand (260 000) doses on donations. Two Hundred thousand (200 000) was recently received from China, Thirty thousand (30 000) from India, and another Thirty thousand (30 000) from United States of America (USA) through the COVAX facility.
Dikoloti further noted that it is vital for low and middle income economy countries to be supported to produce vaccines. By so doing, Dikoloti says the short supply of vaccines issue would be resolved.
“We highly welcome the recommendation that manufacturing capacity of mRNA and other vaccines needs to be urgently built in Africa, Latin America and other low- and middle-income regions. Chairperson Botswana is ready to work with the international and regional organisations and partners to translate this into a reality. We further look forward to participating in the WHO’s first World Local Production Forum on enhancing access to medicines and other health technologies which is scheduled for June 2021.” Dikoloti asserted.