BONU calls on govt to invest more on nurses

Kabelo Adamson

Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has called on government to invest in the country’s nurses, especially in professional development in areas like leadership.

The clarion call came from the Union’s President, Obonolo Rahube, when delivering a message for International Nurses Day.

The day is commemorated annually on 12 May, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, pioneer of modern nursing.

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This year’s celebrations – which marked the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth – were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, BONU still delivered a message to its members to commemorate the milestone occasion.

Rahube said government should, in line with the advocacy of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN), invest more on nurses and midwives.

The union leader outlined the challenges that nurses and midwives go through in Botswana and advised government to address them ‘urgently’.

“Government should, as a matter of urgency, provide subsidized accommodation for nurses and midwives as it has emerged during the fight against Covid-19 that accommodation for nurses and midwives is very vital,” highlighted Rahube, who maintains government should provide nurses and midwives with 100 percent medical cover.

He also called on government to introduce risk allowance for nurses and midwives, noting that as frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are at high risk.

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“The biggest issue facing nurses and other healthcare staff around the world is the adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and their patients against infection,” pointed out Rahube, adding that even now, a large number of policymakers have been slow to respond.

The issue recently saw BONU take the legal route and seek a court order to compel government to provide the nurses with PPE, a matter which they lost.

Rahube called on the employer to up her game in the welfare of nurses and make sure they are well taken care of.

“The Ministry of Health and Wellness officials should stop their behavior of failure to engage in good faith. It is sad that the employer feels that provision of transport, accommodation and psychological support, especially during Covid-19, is some kind of favour to nurses,” he concluded wryly.

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