Nurses accuse gov't of laxity

Nurses marching to deliver a petition to the ministry PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Nurses marching to deliver a petition to the ministry PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Nurses claim government is abusing their goodwill as it is failing to meet them halfway to assist patients.

Through their union, nurses disclosed that they are under attack,  and do not have a guarantee that they will make it home after reporting to work. Nurses say their lives are in danger whilst their core mandate is to serve lives.

In light of the danger facing nurses, Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has vowed to lobby nurses to stop working odd hours if government is not willing to intervene against attacks on nurses during working hours.

Addressing the media during a press conference on Wednesday at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, BONU president Obonolo Rahube said the issue of violence against nurses is increasing, but government is not keen to implement what it had promised them to do for nurses working late hours.

He said after discussing the matter with government and doing consultations with their members on ‘call to duty’ and they have decided to discontinue it with immediate effect.

Rahube said nurses are attacked at work and whilst walking home because they are not transported back home when knocking off late.

He said nurses are under attack giving an example of last year April’s incident in which a female nurse was raped whilst on duty at Extension II clinic in Gaborone with some continuing to suffer abuse at the hands of patients.

“A week ago, criminals invaded Broadhurst clinic that has been operating for 24 hours early in the morning and stole nurses’ mobile phones. Last Saturday another nurse was attacked and assaulted at Thamaga village.

This is a serious concern because we have since petitioned the government on this matter last year April and to date our concerns are to be heard. We are tired of boithaopi in relation to call because of abuse and working an unregulated shift or work,” Rahube said.

He said it is clear indication that their ministry is in autopilot everyone is doing as they please.

Rahube said the government has long promised to cut tress in all clinics, provide all health facilities with proper illumination install CCTV cameras and provide clinics with security guards of repute.

He said unsafe security leads to poor service and that is the reason why at times they appear to be failing to do their jobs to the public’s desired expectations.

“We were once promised that clinics will have reputable security officers but we have seen the opposite.

We want the likes of G4S and Security Systems in clinics not what is happening now. Clinics do not have facilities, there are no press buttons and the current security guards are not equipped,” he said.

The dejected president said they have seen a press release notifying the public of the installation of CCTV camera something that does not seat well with them as the concerned parties.

“As concerned parties we were not supposed to have learnt about the CCTV camera installations through the media.

This is an insult to us because we are the ones who suggested the idea to our employer,” he said.

Sharing the similar sentiments, BONU Secretary General Fondondo Phillip said with escalating attacks in clinics they would end up being forced to go to work armed to protect themselves.

Phillip said they are classified as essential service and should therefore be provided with what is due.

He said all nurses working under 24 hours clinics and those with call to duty their lives are in danger and should be protected.

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