Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, says he is excited that the University of Botswana continues to play a pivotal role in the fight against COVID-19 in the country. He was speaking at a short ceremony to appreciate a donation of P30 000 that Acting Coordinator of the Presidential COVID-19 Task Team, Professor Mosepele Mosepele, made towards development of a website for the team from part of his research grants.
Professor Norris said since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, the University of Botswana has been in the forefront providing expertise and human resources to combat the spread of the virus locally. Apart from Professor Moesepele who is Head of Internal Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Norris said UB also has staff manning the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital where COVID-19 cases are being managed. The University has further assisted with development of tools and other initiatives to monitor and contain the spread of the virus in the country.
However, Professor Norris was quick to bemoan Africa’s failure to learn from the past because of lack of documentation of data collected overtime that could be analyzed and used to solve problems. Notwithstanding, such will soon become the least of his worries because he said he was happy that the envisaged website would no doubt serve as a repository of valuable information on COVID-19 in Botswana.
“There is a lot of data that is collected and it is very important that it is collated, packaged and analyzed properly to solve the problems we experienced in the past,” observed Professor Norris.
Professor Norris commended Professor Mosepele for donating part of his research grants towards such a national cause. He said the gesture was alive to the fact that as a university professor, part of his job was not only teaching but to engage in externally funded research projects to uplift the lives of communities as well.
The Vice Chancellor hailed Professor Mosepele for his active role in generating research funds for the University of Botswana. As such, Professor Norris underscored the need for other academics to generate third stream income for the university given the dwindling financial assistance from governments for public universities across the world.
In response, Professor Mosepele was particularly excited at the prospects of Botswana’s noble fight against COVID-19 becoming a lesson to the rest of the world especially given the few cases recorded locally. Like Professor Norris, he observed that the website would become handy as a repository of the educational material and internal knowledge about their (Task Team) experiences and plans in the fight against COVID-19.
Professor Mosepele said the website would make such educational material and the knowledge generated easily accessible. He commended the University of Botswana for putting in place a system that allowed its academic staff to use part of their research grants for community projects.
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Oathokwa Nkomazana, said she was honoured to be working with an eminent individual such as Professor Mosepele. Professor Nkomazana also highlighted the importance of publicizing the good work that the University of Botswana was doing. “I usually bemoan the fact that we really do not tell our stories enough. There is a lot of good that is coming out of UB that must be told to the rest of the world,” she observed and thanked the media covering the event.