Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) is concerned about violent acts committed against nurses while on duty.
BONU’s president, Obonolo Rahube said in an interview that violence against workers on duty gravely concerns the organisation.
Rahube raised the concern following an incident in which Batawana Chief, Keleatile Moremi, allegedly slapped a female nurse whilst on duty at Letsholathebe Hospital last Wednesday.
He said nurses are under attack and do not have a guarantee that they will make it home after reporting to work.
“Violence against nurses has been a concern for years now. Yes, it is true a nurse was assaulted whilst on duty at Letsholathebe Hospital last Wednesday. The incident occurred at around 7pm (on Wednesday). We are still shocked by the allegation,” Rahube told The Monitor.
He said the matter was reported to the police, adding they were hopeful the perpetrator would face the law despite her status. Rahube stated that the organisation denounces such acts in strongest terms.
“Nurses continue to suffer abuse at the hands of patients. It is very painful, especially that the violence comes from a community leader, someone who should be protecting workers. The accused person is someone who should be condemning such acts and lead by example. Let the law take its cause irrespective of the accused person’s status,” he said.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) confirmed they were investigating the matter. However, BPS public relations officer, senior superintendent Near Bagali was cagey saying investigations into the matter were at infant stages.
“Yes, Maun police are investigating a case in which a nurse was allegedly assaulted whilst on duty last Wednesday. Investigations on the mater are ongoing to establish what really transpired,” he said.
Asked what charge the alleged perpetrator would face Bagali said: “We have not laid any charge(s) as yet because investigations are still at initial stage”.
Last year, following a number of assaults, nurses through their union, disclosed they were under attack and do not have a guarantee that they will make it home after reporting to work. They said their lives were in danger whilst their core mandate is to save lives and serve the public.
At the time, Rahube noted violence against nurses was rising, and accused government of not being keen to deliver on its promise to provide for the nurses’ welfare, particularly during late working hours. He said nurses are attacked at work and whilst walking home because they are not transported back home when they knock off late.
In 2018, a nurse was raped whilst on duty at Extension II Clinic in Gaborone. Last year in another incident, criminals invaded Broadhurst clinic one early morning and stole nurses’ mobile phones.