Govt recruits foreign doctors

Sending a strong message that says to striking civil servants ‘You are not indispensable’ Government has embarked on an intensive and swift recruitment drive from across the SADC region to replace fired doctors and nurses who took part in a strike to demand a salary increment.

Speaking on the sidelines of a prolonged countrywide civil servants strike that threatened to bring the health sector to its knees, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Kolaatamo Malefho revealed that over 400 health professions have been fired while at least 1000 non professionals, who are also categorised as essential services by their virtue of being hospital employees, have also been dismissed.

The doctors and nurses were fired for defying a court order to go back to work after their participation in the strike as essential services providers was declared illegal by the courts of law.

“These employees defied a court order and we were left with no choice but to dismiss them. We have also started recruiting locally and beyond borders to fill in the vacancies,’’ he said.

Lambasting the media for what he said were exaggerated reports on the effects of the strike on the health sector, Dr Malefho who refused to say how many people died in hospital wards because of the strike said, “The whole thing was blown out of proportion by the media and the sad thing is that instead of people condemning this unethical act by doctors and nurses, people were actually glorifying and measuring the success of this strike by deaths of people in hospitals.”

“I cannot dispute the fact that hospitals and clinics have been affected by the strike but it is not as gross as the media is portraying it. People now have to wait longer to get services because of a reduced number of personnel hence our swift move to recruit and replace those we have lost,’’ he said, adding that it would not be difficult to replace labour as there were unemployed nurses who would be willing to join the civil service and many foreign doctors who would love to work and live in Botswana.

Concerning non-specialised jobs such as cleaning, cooking and others, Malefho said they have already contracted companies and have hired casual labour to replace them.

Asked on the logic behind firing local doctors whose education was fully paid for by government and replacing them with foreign doctors who usually get better pay, better perks and costly expatriate benefits such as accommodation in a hotel for three months while they wait to be allocated a government house, Malefho downplayed the issue and claimed that it was instead cheaper to have foreign doctors as they are not entitled to a pension scheme.

“Foreign doctors don’t have a pension and are not paid private practice so the issue of costs is out. And yes the government invested in training Batswana doctors but if they defy court orders then we cannot keep people who have no respect for the rule of law.”

He however said all was not lost for the fired doctors as there was a chance of eventually re-hiring those who would want to come back, but each case would be treated individually.

Meanwhile Malefho strongly denied that Cuban doctors who are expected to arrive in the country in June are coming in because of the strike, saying the government has always had a relationship with Cuba and there was an existing programme that brings Cuban doctors to Botswana every year to work in the health sector.

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Motho a bo a sinalale go buiwa ka mathata a a apereng lehatshe la ga bone. I have always thought the government of Botswana especially at the top, were xenocentric. Now I am sure. Proved by the way they don’t waste time to go abroad to look for foreign doctors to come and replace their citizen doctors in their own soil. This is low even for them. There is a lot of double standard in the ministry of health.On the one hand, there is the agreement that this country has made with regional neighbours to prevent brain drain. And now… Read more »


Se goromente wa Botswana a tswhanetseng goseitse ke gore motswaka ga a kake a tlhokomela molwetse jaaka mong kaene. What about the language barrier? A baeteledipele barona jaaka bagolo ba buse pelo for the sake of batswana ba madi a bone a dirisitsweng go ruta bana ba bone gore ba tsoge ba ba boloka.Batswana a ba serontshiwe tshwanelo yeo.


This is a sad revelation. We come far as Batswana, from the poorest of the poor to a middle income country to the envy of the world. We knew how to live, we stood side by side with the less privileged & built this country, we deliberated over difficult issues though discomforting as they might be like the current strike but we always prevailed. I can no longer recognize my Botswana i know. Though as poor as we were then, we were happy, i am struggling to accept that the prosperity that was suppose to make us even more happy… Read more »

Chris M

There is room for even more doctors in our country. They are in serious short supply and recruitment has been ongoing even as we train more of our own. What I understand is happening here is that the government can’t watch as patients die when citizen doctors abandon them to be on strike. It’s an emergency measure that anyone would take, and this uses the money that would have paid those doctors on strike. Not additional funds! Life of anyone of our people is precious and in my view no money can equate to it! A doctor who is prepared… Read more »


there should be a minimum of words somebody can comment, re lapisiwa ke di paragraph,kana ke di lecture


Yes, I agree that there is no point in keeping people who have no respect for the rule of law. When they joined this profession they knew what was expected of them, or in simple words, what they were taught. Ke gore jaanong money comes first and what they initially agreed to abide with is ‘rubbish’. Typical hypocrites!


Jeesss!comments like cris_m and yobayo, makes my stomach turn..cris-m if you’re not DIS, then o hardcore ass kisser, doochbag..claimming to be always on the right side..Yobayo when people joined this profesion they studied hard to qualify to get to that point…with lots and lots of state and parents funds being put to their education(one of the most expensive professions)…and if you going to just dump them becuase they refused to be abused (what a waste).. We talk like this people are doing voluntary miners, engineers whenever they stop, the wheels of life stops turning then bigger, bad things happens..with… Read more »

Chris M

@msolinah. If you dare insult me, at least come up with something intelligent to say afterwards rather than help expose what a complete f**l with just a bad attitude you are. If I’m an ass kisser at least I do that for a decent leader, not some f**lish hooligan politician who lies all the time. Grow up and understand that different views are welcome in a democracy!

Ao Botho - betso

I wonder what would happen if we truly listened and heard each other? Is it possible that there is more going on here than the strike? Is this time for us re le Batswana to review our values, regardless of party lines. I am because you are…botho betso. Most people who have gone for higher education stand on the sweat of our grand-parents/parents etc. Motho le motho kgomo. Is this really about the money? What are we flexing for? Is it about a system that has gone awry? What is it people? See I am not one to claim I… Read more »


Hei di essay bathong….ao