Let’s support our health workers

Elsewhere in this publication, Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) president warns that the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in hospitals may worsen the current COVID-19 situation for nurses in the workplace if not addressed.

There is no doubt that government and indeed the Health Ministry have been trying hard to fight the pandemic. However, we are disturbed that key stakeholders had to address nurses through the media.

As stated by BONU president, Obonolo Rahube, there is no way nurses can deliver on their good work without protective clothing even before COVID-19.

The lives of nurses and other health workers are at risk because they are at the forefront of the war against the pandemic, yet we still hear of health facilities without masks or gloves on.

PPEs are said to be inadequate, especially in areas far from the capital city Gaborone such as Chobe, Gweta and Okavango. This cannot be right. The Ministry needs to ensure that these health workers are safe and work as much as possible. We have seen that when nurses are on isolation, patients suffer as a result of staff shortage. This as a result increases the chances of spreading the virus as they spend long periods on queues for testing.

We also learnt of 23 nurses who succumbed to COVID-19 adding onto hundreds who already have lost their lives. It is a great shock that when we know the importance of health workers and have also said they could be vaccinated, we still have a huge number of them who have not.

We thus call on the Ministry, the unions and even the health workers themselves to ensure that they receive their doses. This would go a long way in preserving their lives and giving them motivation to assist patients as expected.

We applaud the health workers for what they have been doing since the outbreak of COVID-19. We call on you to carry on the good work despite the challenges. It is also important that you also try your best to stay safe in your workplaces and at home.

As much as you have the right to demand all the necessary support to do your work, it is also your responsibility to keep safe from the virus. We also urge you while assisting patients, to ensure that they queue properly and follow health protocols. This could reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

It would be amiss if we do not call on members of the public to equally play their part in preserving and protecting our health workers.

Ours is to simply follow protocols as prescribed by the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force. Sanitise, Mask up, Social Distance, Avoid unnecessary movements and visit health facilities when the need arises!

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”

– Plato

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