Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has noted with concern the lack of seriousness towards the lives of the nation by the Government of Botswana, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in particular.
Common sense would inform that at this time of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Health Sector should be prioritized above everything else. One would assume the nurses, doctors and their welfare is well taken care of. One would assume they are kept happy so that they can lead the fight against the pandemic with their heads up, with the right mood. Unfortunately wishes are not horses.
The Secretary General of BONU, Lebogang Phillip has indicated through a press release that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been mistreating the temporary nurses. The disgruntled Union leader noted with sorrow that their colleagues have now Two (2) months without being paid their monthly renumerations. As if that is not enough, the Ministry wants to terminate their contracts.
“BONU, therefore reminds the employers including the Government that paying wages on time and adequately is the simplest action employers can take to maintain a level of motivation or, at least, prevent one of the commonly encountered demotivating factors. Though the MoHW been engaged over these issues and pledged to solve them in possible shortest period, BONU doubts the seriousness, lack of political will and urgency on their part of whereas the Nation is in grave need of efficient health services in the midst of the pandemic.” Phillip asserted.
According to the Union, they have engaged the Ministry over their grievances, but to the look of their eyes the Ministry does not seem to care.
There has been a rise in the numbers of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths thereof. In an effort to address that, the government rolled out the vaccination program. According to the minister, their aim as the Ministry is to vaccinate every citizen by the end of 2021. This exercise would need manpower, and BONU is concerned that the government, instead of increasing the health staff, it is reducing the already short-staffed nurses.
“Therefore, termination of their contracts leads to acute shortage of manpower which causes the Nurses on the ground to be overwhelmed by numerous Nursing duties. Some Nurses have succumbed to COVID-19, others are in quarantines, home isolations, and the rest who are currently on duty are denied annual leaves as the Covid-19 activities intensifies from day to day.” Phillip lamented.