Public health system a disgrace

04th September 2017


By Ernest Moloi -

On the surface, we have one of the best public health care systems in Africa, but a closer look reveals underlying deficiencies in our health care systems particularly in the service aspect. True, our health facilities are darted within walking distance throughout the width and breadth of the country, true the buildings are fantastic by our standards, but sadly the service is appalling to say the least.

Imagine you are referred from the clinic in January to one of the hospitals on an urgent basis only to be booked to see the doctor six months later at the hospital? Yes, this is the reality of our public health care system. It does not matter how much pain you have to deal with in fact, the nurse booking you may for the kick of it, even suggest a priority level for your pain!

We have no say in our public health care system, I suspect it’s because we don’t pay a leg and arm to get the help. Even then, that should not be justification for the treatment meted out to the lot of us many of who can’t afford private health care. What’s worse, some of the working class cadres also suffer the same fate in public health care because their employers deny them medical aid cover! When you are terminally ill, the referral hospital chucks you out saying that you will die at home. The doctors will give a lame excuse dressed in medical jargon to describe the patient’s condition in their desperate bid to get rid of the patient.

I wonder what care ordinary folks can offer a patient that has been kicked out of a hospital! Yet, that is the reality of our hospitals. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fascinating stories about life-saving experiences that exist in our public health care, but they are unfortunately overshadowed by the negative traits that have been allowed to fester for this long without any attention.

I recently had a scare of my life when I came across an elderly man who was referred to a big referral hospital for eye care on urgency basis, only to be booked to see the ophthalmologist five months later! The BMD series plays on. In the latest twist chairman of the Umbrella for Democratic Change and also president of the oldest party in the country, Botswana People’s Party, Motlatsi Molapisi is quoted in today’s The Midweek Sun giving the UDC a two weeks ultimatum to have solved the BMD impasse or else BPP will take matters in its hands. It’s now an open secret that Molapisi’s BPP is planning to form an alliance with Ndaba Gaolathe’s faction of the BMD.

Who knows, most probably Molapisi wants Ndaba’s masses to come and resuscitate the grand old dinosaur. As for me, I don’t really care, but what worries me is how a party that professes pan Africanism can ever form an alliance with an unabashed capitalist movement?

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