In a leaked conversation between Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti and the MP for Mahalapye West, David Tshere, the former places blame solely on District Health Management Teams for the nationwide medicine shortage.
The Minister of Health (MoH) Dr Edwin Dikoloti has blamed District Health Management Teams (DHMT) countrywide for unavailability of medicines at public health facilities, The Botswana Gazette has established.
In a leaked conversation between the minister and the MP for Mahalapye West, David Tshere, Dikoloti says while the DHMTs are given money by the ministry to place orders with Central Medical Stores (CMS), they are not doing so.
This is leaving health facilities under the DHMTs everywhere in short supply of medicines, among them of chronic diseases like hypertension and sugar diabetes, the minister says.
He then challenges Tshere – who raised the concerns about shortage of medicines – to tell the DHMT in his constituency to place orders with CMS. “Tell those who claim that there are no medicines in their facilities to place orders from CMS,” he says in the audio that has gone viral on social media.
“These people are given money but they are not buying the medicines they are in need of. This has now turned political because people enjoy discrediting the government over shortage of medicines. People always try to find excuses and try to point fingers.”
Quizzed by Tshere regarding why he is not cracking the whip on DHMTs for failing in their job of placing orders with CMS, Dikoloti claims to be constrained. “I cannot crack the whip because my powers are limited,” he says.
While Dikoloti could not be reached for comment, Tshere has confirmed knowledge of the audio but denies recording and leaking it himself.
“What I can confirm are the contents of the recording,” he told The Gazette. “I recently called Dikoloti in the presence of aggrieved members of the public after they confronted me following loss of their loved ones due to unavailability of medicines at public health facilities,” he said.
“They approached me in my capacity as Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and HIV. I therefore felt obligated call the minister in their presence so that they could also hear for themselves from the horse’s mouth. It seems one of them recorded our conversation and later leaked it.”