University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, has commended Afya Bora Consortium for contributing towards addressing the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low and middle income sub-Saharan African countries. Professor Norris said such health problems required a new breed of well trained and skilled health professionals.
He was welcoming participants of the 2018 Afya Bora Consortium Annual workshop organised by the UB Department of Health and Sciences held at Avani Hotel on June 25, 2018. So far, the consortium has graduated a total of 139 fellows including doctors, nurses and public health specialists from partnering countries since its inception seven years ago. Among the 139 are 24 UB alumni. The fellowship programme admits fellows from several countries including Botswana, Cameroon, China, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the USA
Professor Norris also commended UB for actively participating in capacity building of human resource especially equipping participants with health knowledge and leadership skills. He said such knowledge and skills were critical in improving provision of health care, effectively and efficiently leading health programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.
Professor Norris also said rotating Afya Bora meetings in member countries would expose fellows to environments other than those familiar to them and facilitate network development. He also said it enhanced North-South and south-South collaborations.
“Improving leadership is associated with harmonious work environment and increased productivity which are vital for sustainable development of their countries,” said Professor Norris. He added that UB valued internalisation of its programmes and engagement of its stakeholders hence the Afya Bora initiative fitted well with the University’s mission.
World Health Organization Representative in Botswana, Dr Obverdijo Martins, also highlighted some achievement in health development in Botswana. “In doing so the country has committed to ensure all people receive the health service they need, while at the same time ensuring that services do not expose users to financial hardship, ’said Dr Obverdijo.
Ministry of Health and Wellness Deputy Permanent Secretary Corporate Services, Ms. Hazel Reaitsanye, assured graduates of the consortium that they would be assigned to areas where their impact could be felt. She also challenged the fellows to be proactive, demonstrate their skills and negotiate with their heads of department to be allocated time to find solutions to health challenges their communities were experiencing.