Top Botswana scientists convene to discuss way forward during Covid 19 Pandemic
United Nations Botswana today 19/06 in collaboration Botswana International University Of Science and Technology (BIUST) held a webinar titled -The Voice of Science in Botswana during COVID-19 Crisis Webinar. The webinar had experts like Professor Joe Jarvis an infectious disease doctor from Harvard Aids institute in Gaborone as well as Professor Kerstin Andrae – Marobela : Department of biological sciences at University of Botswana.
Giving introductory and opening remarks during the webinar, the Vice Chancellor of BIUST Professor Totolo called on Scientists and Researchers to aid policy making and framework development for the current and future crisis.(SEE VIDEO) He also said, “The global community is banking on science and research to provide solutions pivotal to Covid 19 research hoping for quick results to deal with the pandemic from understanding the disease diagnostics to vaccine and treatments. As science is understood to provide technical solutions to tackle this global challenge, Scientists and Researchers are on the spotlight globally as the international community awaits the cure of COVID 19.”
Professor Joe Javis gave a background on the epidemiology and modelling specific to Botswana landscape. In his presentation he pointed out that the botswana demography is young with most people compared to Italy and this has seen Botswana enjoy lower fatality rate and hospitalization of Covid 19 cases. However, worrying Botswana has a high rate of co-morbidities and that puts the country at disadvantage in transmission. He spoke briefly about the RN whichote describes how many people are infected in a pandemic and how they may transfer to the next two people. This shows in image below that social distancing is indeed effective. He also talked about super spreading events that spread the disease in indoor areas. Listen to him talk more in the Invideo section in sidebar:
Professor Marobela spoke at length about the formulations of natural products which can be used to inhibit the virus itself, stabilize symptoms and promote healthy immune system.28 scientists in Botswana have collaborated efforts form a Covid 19 Relief consortium. This network is aided by traditional health practitioners in Botswana as per WHO recommendations. She said more traditional scientists were voluntarily seeking ways to assist University of Botswana.Listen to her talk more in the Invideo section in sidebar.
Dr Lemme Kebaabetswe , a Virologist at BIUST as well as Senior Lecturer. Her experience is in respiratory viruses especially influenza. She spoke about the virus itself and makeup during the webinar and how Botswana should realise they will lose a few people to get back to normal day to day life. Most importantly she highlighted the need for more funding for researchers. She said the talent is there but there is little money to back up researchers. Listen to her during the webinar .