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Nurses wants inclusion in public service bargaining council

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Nurses. PIC. MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The president of Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) Obonolo Rahube has urged the government to include the nurses in the now revitalised new public service bargaining council.

Speaking at Botswana Nurses’ Day and NAB/BONU 50th anniversary celebration in Gaborone today, Rahube said they strongly felt it was time to be included in the bargaining council where they believe their voice needed to be heard and their concerns addressed. He said nurses are an invaluable asset to the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH&W) arguing that the strategic competitive edge depends on them.

“The government of Botswana should see nurses as a partner in the journey towards the new Botswana and we shall under no circumstances condone nurses being left out. We also want to be seen playing a part in the new Botswana as His Excellency a baakanya lefatshe. We are proud of our nurses, mostly young people dispersed across the country doing their job diligently and with honour, at times under unbearable conditions,” he said.

Rahube further stated that government through MoH&W should give an undivided attention to the nurse’s needs and wellbeing. He pointed out that nurses were crying out loud that their wellbeing should be addressed as a matter of urgency. He also acknowledges their strides that MoH&W had done to nurses so far. He pointed out that the ministry had marked allowance of educators, responded on the petition about safety of nurses, the newly introduced savingram which states that nurses upgrading up to C1 salary scale should be done at DHMT level. 

However, he pointed out that there were still key areas on their welfare issues that needed to be addressed such as overstaying at C1 salary scale for even up to 11 years saying that they were made aware that there had been 79 approved promotion of D4 and D3 which will be completed by end of August 2018. He said that shows that the DPSM and MoH&W were moving in the right direction. He said there were more than 400 nurses who had reached the ceiling of C1 salary scale, that is nurses who got promoted on 2008 saying nurses list was still long of those of 2009 and beyond. 

“There is also an issue of poor

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deployment and lack of numeration of specialised nurses, lack of accommodation for nurses who are the frontline healthcare workers and lack of further training for nurses. Competent, well-trained and skilled nurses improve health care quality for all sustainable health care. Capacity building of nurses and midwives enables them to meet the demands of the people they serve,” he said.

For her part, the permanent secretary at MoH&W  Ruth Maphorisa pointed out that her ministry came up with a roadmap to achieve these stretching goals and some of the initiatives embarked upon such as strengthening of legislation in order to improve quality of care and protect high standards in the practice of health care and protect the welfare and interest of the public, revitalisation of the primary health care through harmonisation of community health structures and restructuring of the MoH&W to devolve authority to the DHMTs and implementation of integration of health services for efficiency and effectiveness in health delivery.

“The changes require the right skills and competencies. In order for the nursing profession to effectively play their role, there is need for training and professional practice to continuously align to meet emerging demands and expectations of the public and the health workplace. Transformation of nursing training, education and scope of practice to reflect current needs and realities,” she said.

Speaking at the same gathering, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology, Energy Security Eric Molale pointed out that it was high time nursing was decentralised. He said this was because he was aware that even though MoH&W promised to buy nurses uniforms, some had to buy their won uniforms with their own money due to the ministry’s failure to do so. He said there was need to empower extension teams to do their work efficiently and diligently. 

Molale added that there was need to promote and move nurses from lower salary scales as done in other ministries. He also said nurses had to be taken for in-service training for at least once every year so that they could keep up with everyday changes.



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