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Nurses Want Decongestion In Health Facilities

Community members patiently queuing for COVID-19 testing at Nkoyaphiri Clinic PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The coronavirus (COVID-19) casualties and new infections recorded daily are sky-rocketing.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has bemoaned dwindling resources in an overwhelmed system, leading to failure to fully carry out the health mandate as competently as practitioners wish they could.

Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) decried that the government has not heeded their call to decongest health facilities and also hire more people.  “We are concerned about the congestion in the health facilities where people are tested, isolated and quarantined in areas like Francistown, Greater Gaborone and hospitals like Sbrana where the situation is bad. We know that COVID-19 demands decongestion. That’s why we social distance. We have had discussions with authorities before calling for decongestion and also the employment of more graduates who are roaming the streets while their services are [greatly] needed,” BONU president, Obonolo Rahube said.

He added that with limited protective clothing, crowding at health facilities leads to more people getting infected including health workers. Rahube called on the government to also look into training more SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) officers.

“There are SHE graduates who are unemployed that can be trained on testing and testing services offered at all clinics to

avoid the spread of the virus as people gather at the same testing centres where they crowd. We also look to the retired nurses to assist. The situation will otherwise get worse for our fragile health system,” he said.  The ministry is said to be mulling over the expansion of testing centres to allow every clinic to conduct tests. However, any effort to get a comment from the health and wellness ministry proved futile at press time.

Minister Edwin Dikoloti would not field questions, referring this reporter to the Public Relations Department. No response has been offered yet. The country has thus far recorded close to 300 COVID-19 related deaths with new cases also going up countrywide. This has led to a lot of people being isolated in their homes.  While in the past health workers would trace contacts to their homes for testing, it has now become increasingly difficult for them to do so, leaving some positive people to nurse themselves back to health at their homes while others only reach health facilities when their situation is bad or too late.


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