WHO supports Botswana’s preparedness and response efforts for coronavirus

WHO has provided PPE kits and has ordered digital thermometers and other essentials to support key preparedness and response activities such as screening and case management. WHO Representative, Dr Josephine Namboze and technical staff continue to provide technical guidance, training and support on a daily basis in all areas of preparedness and response. All staff including cleaners, security, immigration, revenue services, restaurant workers and others at ports of entry have been trained in hygiene and infection control while health staff have received comprehensive training from surveillance, infection control to case management.

In the last one week, the WHO Representative attended a meeting of the multi-sectoral national Public Health Emergency Coordinating Committee (PHECC) and addressed a Joint media conference with senior management from the Ministry to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak and what the world, WHO and the country are doing. She also joined the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Lemogang Kwape to tour key facilities including the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in the capital Gaborone, the isolation facility in Block 8 and a designated bigger isolation facility Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital in case of increasing numbers of people needing isolation and management. Dr Namboze and Minister Kwape also visited the busiest land border post between Botswana and South Africa to monitor Port Health Services and motivate staff. The country currently has 5 suspected cases and has not recorded a confirmed case yet. Test results from the Regional Laboratory in South Africa will shed further light on this.

Day to day, the Minister is constantly engaging the community including Batswana in Wuhan, China through various forms of media such as telephone, broadcast and social media. He has also engaged with the Chinese Embassy in Botswana. The Embassy is helping with translation of key documents into Chinese as large numbers of Chinese nationals coming into Botswana have difficulties understanding English.

WHO co-chairs the Risk Communication and Community Engagement committee of the PHECC which advises the Minister and coordinates communication, awareness creation, social mobilization and community engagement. WHO has also briefed UN staff and partners and will continue to do so.

Yesterday (3rd February 2020), the Minister of Health and Wellness addressed cabinet on the status of 2019-nCoV and the specific actions that have been taken as part of preparedness.

Source: World Health Organization. Africa