Status: Completed response

As COVID cases rose across Africa, UK-Med deployed sent ten medics and operational specialists to Botswana to provide lifesaving training and support, as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team.

As Africa battled a new wave of the deadly COVID-19 virus in the summer of 2021; Botswana had been particularly hard hit. A third of the country’s total cases had been recorded in July, with the number of deaths rising week on week, accounting for a quarter of the country’s total COVID-19 related deaths.


Total cases


Total deaths


New cases in July


New deaths in July

With only 5% (JHU) of the population having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 2021, the recent surge led to a rise in patient hospital admissions, pushing staff and hospital resources to their limits. As a result, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Botswana (MoHW) issued an urgent call for international assistance to help bring the pandemic under control.

Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa with a population of 2.3 million and (CDC/Botswana) its health system already faces significant challenges managing diseases including HIV, TB and Malaria.  (WHO/Botswana). The WHO believes that the spread of the Delta variant, which is more transmissible, contributed to the sharp increase in coronavirus cases and deaths across Africa, including Botswana.

Our response

Led by Kenyan epidemiologist, nurse and public health specialist, Eunice Chege, UK-Med deployed a team of ten doctors, nurses and operational experts to provide specialist training and on the job support for Batswana medical professionals in two hospitals in Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone, where they are fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The response lasted for two months.

Our international team from the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria had specialities that included emergency medicine, critical care, infection prevention and control, risk communications and community engagement, public health and logistics.

They helped strengthen the national health care team’s skills in the identification, referral and management of critically ill COVID patients, strengthening healthcare teams and community’s awareness of the virus and supporting ongoing vaccination efforts.

UK-Med Team Lead, Eunice Chege, says:

“Our well-equipped and expert UK Emergency Medical team will support the MOHW Botswana in strengthening efforts to curb this pandemic.

The pandemic control remains our focus and concern as we strive to save lives and control the disease.”

Our response in more detail

Assessing community and clinical staff perceptions of COVID-19 and developing awareness campaigns to increase knowledge, counter misinformation, and reduce stigma of the virus.

Reviewing the capacity of targeted hospitals to manage and treat patients with COVID-19, including assessment of their isolation and intensive care units, • Putting in place patient and staff flows within the hospitals, training national staff in how these work and the triage and admission process for patients with COVID-19.

Supporting identification, screening, triage and referral of COVID-19 positive patients.

Supporting the isolation and clinical care for all cases, especially severe and critically ill patients.

Putting in place infection prevention and control (IPC) measures and the delivery of IPC training to national staff, in line with WHO international standards.

Adaptation of clinical guidelines and supporting the development of standard operating procedures for the identified hospitals.

Ensure that all necessary tools and guidelines in all relevant technical areas are available and effectively used.

With thanks to the British people via funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

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