Botswana is a democratic country with a population of 2 million people. The official languages of Botswana are English and Tswana. It is the fifth richest African country per capita.
- Botswana is a democratic country with a population of 2 million people.
- It is a middle income country, so relatively wealthy in comparison to most other countries in Africa.
- HIV rate is 24 percent among adults and much lower in children.
- The government pays for all HIV care for Botswana (singular Motswana), but does not cover patients from other countries.
- The Botswana government pays for every citizen's education.
- English is the language of medicine, but Setswana is the heart language and spoken between Batswana.
Clinical, Teaching, and Outreach Opportunities
Ambulatory clinical work is at the Botswana-Baylor Center of Excellence. It is located adjacent to Princess Marina Hospital which is the region's primary referral hospital. Most patients are adolescents to young adults, but a typical clinic day will include at least a few young child visits. Clinical duties consist of seeing patients in clinic and at outreach sites in the surrounding region. Some sites are called "challenge sites" which means that you will see adults and children who are failing first and second line therapy. There will be opportunities to work alongside and teach visiting scholars, residents and medical students, usually from The University of Botswana. If interested, you can participate in a monthly teen club.
Also available is the opportunity to work with the Global HOPE (Hematology Oncology Pediatric Excellence) team, which provides the only Pediatric Hematology and Oncology services in the country. Clinical care is provided at Princess Marina Hospital. A typical day will include pre-rounding, team rounds, ambulatory clinic, administering chemotherapy, venipuncture for labs, placing IVs, lumbar punctures with intrathecal chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies, consults, admissions, family education and counseling, educational conferences and more. It is a very hands-on service with a broad exposure to not only hematology and oncology, but also general pediatrics.
Pediatric Kitso training: Botswana-Baylor partners with the Botswana Ministry of Health to deliver a week-long course on pediatric HIV for healthcare providers. Residents have the ability to be one of the trainers for this, traveling to various parts of the country to lead this course alongside another medical officer. The training involves 4 days of classwork and 1 day of clinical work – seeing pediatric patients at a local clinic and mentoring learners as they apply their learning in the clinical setting.
Treatment failure clinics/outreach: I had the opportunity to participate in treatment failure clinics at 4 sites around the country. The local clinics set aside 1 day a month for these clinics, and medical officers (from the clinic and surrounding clinics) refer pediatric patients to see us on that day – usually because the patients are having treatment failure, psychosocial concerns, or side effects from treatment. I would travel to the site with one of our nurses, and he and I would see patients with the local medical officers or nurse prescribers so that not only could we make changes to benefit the patients, but we could also build local capacity for managing these challenging cases.
Living in Gaborone
Residents will live in the capitol city of Gaborone. The city's population is estimated at 231,000. Traffic is not too heavy even during rush hour. Cost of living is comparable to that of Houston, Texas. Domestic help is available at an affordable rate. There are many malls, restaurants, gyms, and events to choose from. Internet, water and electricity services are in general more reliable than many Sub-Saharan countries. The weather includes a mild winter and a hot summer, with most days of the year sunny and pleasant. There are many good preschools and private international schools. Johannesburg, South Africa is easily accessible by car or plane.
Botswana is well known for safaris and wildlife. There will be ample time for adventures to the many tourist destinations of the country and nearby South Africa.