The Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam has commended the Botswana government for its commitment to enhancing the health status of the people.
He said the improvement in maternal and child health as well as the significant reduction in mortality attributed to communicable diseases in both Botswana and Mauritius shows that the countries are on the right track towards attaining the health-related millennium development goals by the end of this decade.
“No development or poverty alleviation programme is achievable if there is no human resource empowerment that focuses on health and education,” he said. The prime minister, who is also a medical doctor, said that the political leadership in both countries recognises the link between a healthy educated nation and economic growth. Health and education, which he described as key pre-requisites for the progress of the nation, have been placed at the top of the socio-economic agenda of both countries, he said.
Dr Ramgoolam, who was on a two-day official visit to Botswana, was speaking at the official opening of the Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) yesterday. The IHS is one of the six in the countries. The upgrading of the Molepolole IHS started in September 2007 and was completed in June this year at a cost of P295 million. The upgrading, phase two of a three phase upgrade, comprises of two academic blocks, an administration block, student hostels, library, canteen and kitchen, sports and recreation areas as well as a multipurpose hall to house indoor sporting activities. Phase one was construction of staff houses. Phase three of the project, which is the construction of more staff houses and a swimming pool, is expected to take place subsequent to the country’s recovery from the economic downturn.
The current 148 students per year capacity of the IHS is expected to grow up to 350 as new developments emerge. Programmes offered include Higher National Diploma in General Nursing, Advanced Diploma in Community Health Nursing and Advanced Diploma in Ophthalmic Nursing.
Meanwhile at a dinner he hosted for the Prime Minister on Monday night, President Ian Khama said Ramgoolam’s participation in the opening of the facility is symbolic and relevant, given the strong partnership between the two countries in the health sector. He said the Memorandum of Understanding, signed last September, between the Botswana Ministry of Health and Mauritius Cardiac Centre, has had multiple benefits such as reduced cost of cardiac surgery and affording medical practitioners from Mauritius an opportunity to give specialised skills to local doctors.
The Molepolole IHS was established in the 1926 as a clinic to train midwives.