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Specific Programmes and Services

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The Botswana public health care system has a number of specialized programmes and services besides sexual and reproductive health, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. These are usually offered in separate clinics attached to hospitals or standing as independent entities, as in the case of the referral psychiatric hospital. Special programmes/services have their main offices in the Ministry of Health to liaise with the services in the districts.

The Occupational Health Unit is responsible for developing policy and providing education and inspectorate services at work sites. Oral health services are provided through clinics attached to hospitals with outreach to communities. Health promotion and education services are provided at health facilities but also through the media such as radio, television and newspapers.

The 1991 census revealed that 2.2% of the population has a disability and that 66.2% of those with disabilities live in rural areas. Because HIV/AIDS is treated as a disability, the number of people with a disability has risen from 34 377 in 1991 to 59 500 in 2001. Besides HIV and AIDS, causes of disability include accidents and congenital defects and may involve brain damage, loss of sensory function and inability to use body parts such as limbs. Rehabilitation services are provided through clinics attached to hospitals, serving both inpatients and outpatients referred from other hospital units.

The Workmen’s Compensation Act provides workers with compensation for injuries incurred in the course of their employment. However, the Act has some deficiencies, such as the exclusion of some categories of employees. The Factory Act regulates the condition of factories to protect the safety of employees. Mental health services are provided through primary health care facilities and district hospitals spread throughout the country, and a 300-bed referral psychiatric hospital.

The National Policy on Mental Health 2003 emphasizes prevention of mental ill health, substance abuse and treatment of mentally ill persons through the primary health care approach. Eye care is provided in special clinics attached to hospitals. Ear, nose and throat services are provided by a mission hospital that receives referrals from public facilities.