New kid on the block

Thato Moruti was recently appointed the new Head of Communication and Public Relations at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital.

The hospital is expected to save government millions of Pula as Botswana is currently referring patients to South Africa and other countries for high level care.

It will also relieve pressure from local major public health care providers.

When fully operational the hospital will offer service like: Critical and Trauma Care, Women and Child Care, Cardiac Care Comprehensive Oncology Care, Nephrology and Transplant Services, Internal Medicine, Surgical Services and Allied Health Services.

Moruti have ten years experience in communication and marketing in education and the telecommunication industry.

He also has an international experience as he headed communication and marketing at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Swaziland.

Moruti is a strategic marketing communication specialist who has managed various aspects of marketing, communication and public relations on social media marketing, media buying, media relations, advertising and creative production.

Our reporter Portia Mlilo interviewed this young PR Director about his career journey and what the new hospital intend to address.

Q. What is the mandate of Sir Ketumile Masire hospital?

A. To provide world class medical services at a quaternary level working in conjunction with the University of Botswana School Of Health Services to provide world class health education and to act as a hub for health research.

We have a mammoth task ahead of us at the hospital as we Batswana and eventually the world.

We also have to continue to raise the bar for customer service and satisfaction as a health care provider.

Q. What exactly does your role entails?

A. I am responsible for strengthening the Hospital’s engagement with stakeholders.

I will be focusing on external and internal communications activities.

One of my priorities is deepening and widening the hospital’s community as it prepares to open and expand as a quaternary health care facility.

I am also charged with developing the Hospital’s brand look and feel.

I am also responsible for managing the media relation, educate and create awareness about this new institution.

Q. When is the hospital going to be fully operational?

A. At the moment we are undergoing what we call commissioning stage.

We are expected to be fully operational in the next two years.

It is going to be opened in phases with the possible of expansion of more than phase four.

Very soon we will be opening for our first patient.

Q. What challenges is the health sector facing, that Sir Ketumile wants to address?

A. It will relief the government from pressure and cut costs because as you might be aware Botswana spends a lot of money to refer elite patients to other countries.

We outsource medical experts from other countries.

We have a lot of Batswana specialists who works in other countries and we are looking at persuading them to come back work at our hospital.

Through research our hospital will lead in the development of health solutions.

We are in partnership with UB to facilitate the area of research and education.

Q. How do you intend to create awareness about the new teaching hospital?

A. One of the things we did was to run a logo competition in which we invited Batswana to submit their ideas.

This is something important because it is a way of making sure they become a part of the ongoing process of establishing this hospital at the same time creating awareness.

We are going to be engaging in different platforms, doing community outreach and share information about our institution.

We will also participate in events or commemorations that are relevant to our mandate.

Q. What inspired you to study PR?

A. In life communication plays a major role.

What inspired me in doing PR is my interest in working with people and protocol services.

I enjoy team work. Communication is where the greatest change is made.

Q. It is your first time to be Head of Communications in the health sector, how easy or difficult is it to be in this position?

A. I headed Communication at Limkokwing University Swaziland.

However this is a different ball game all together as I have never been part of the health care system.

I realised communication is the same across board and what is important is understanding the mandate of your institution and your audience’s needs.

I have been part of projects before that deals with health issues.

As part of social corporate responsibility, I have worked with children with disability and organizations that deals with mental health care.

Q. What makes a good public relations practitioner?

A. You have to be a good listener and planner.

It is important to know the organisation values, mission and the objectives.

You should be willing to go an extra mile to achieve the goals of the organisation.

It is also important to anticipate needs, plan accordingly and understand the environment of the sector you are working in.

You have to be a great communicator, help facilitate communication in and outside the company.

I believe that communication and PR Specialists should have the ability to communicate effectively and clearly, face to face, on phone, by email and on any communication platform (Press Release, Press Conference and others).

Organisational skills are vital as a communication practitioner, because you must be on top of things and maintain order not only for yourself, but the organization.

Q. What opportunities do PR practitioners have for their professional growth?

A. Botswana is a developing country.

We see new investors and companies starting business here and for them to market and tell their story they need a PR officer.

They have an opportunity to shift economics and drive organizational strategies because they have been trained on how to direct communication.

Q. What are some of the highlights of your career as a PR Practitioner?

A. My strength is good listening skill which has helped me to communicate effectively.

I have been able to write engaging stories in media statements or press releases giving a clear picture of the projects I worked on.

I worked in Swaziland and I was able to implement corporate social responsibility projects.

I was part of a team that deployed more than 800 graduates into different sectors through the Limkokwing Entrepreneurship Acceleration platform.

At Mascom I was a leader for Tsena Bw online platform.

I was able to lead a team of young people who were enthusiastic about content development.

Q. Who is your inspiration?

A. My biggest inspiration is Maya Angelou because of the way she rights.

Her work has helped me to believe in myself and trust in my abilities and capabilities.

She says we are all human beings therefore nothing human can be alien to us so if I want to be the president of this country, I have to stretch myself and believe in my craft.

I am also inspired by Rachel Mothibatsela who is the current Group Corporate Affairs Manager Debswana and Mercy Thebe, Tebogo Lebotse Sebego.

These are the women I think they stood the test of time in the Communication and PR industry. Where I am now, I am quite inspired by Dr Thato Moumakwa.

Q. What advice can you give to aspiring PR practitioners?

A. Rise above the level of mediocrity, work hard and be willing to go beyond boundaries.

Be willing to work beyond normal hours and be passionate about your career.

Always ask where you do not understand. You should also have good communications skills

Q. Thank God it’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?

A. I am going for a horse riding in Mokolodi on Saturday.

On Sunday without fail I go to church.