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Government blunders with nurses again

FILE PIC: Botswana nurses (bonu.org.bw

With continued call for prioritising front liner workers, Botswana Government through the Greater Gaborone District Health Management Team (GGDHMT) this week made a costly call, once again exposing loop holes in the system.

The Botswana Government had committed through court documents to provide Personal Protective Equipment /Clothing, (PPE), clothing, accommodation, transportation to front liner staff, something which they back tracked on this week.

In a leaked memo signed by GGDHMT top management referenced ‘assessment of support for Covid-19 activities ” government dramatically decided to withdraw transport and food support to front line workers.

The memo reads in part ‘in assessing progress made and resources put in the fight agains the Covid-19 pandemic, it is our view that some of the activities are sustainable going forward. We have the decided to suspend the following with effect from 22 April 2020, feeding members of staff involved with the Covid-19 activities and transporting staff to and from their residential places’.

The shock memo sent confusion amongst staff who shared their fears with The Voice Online.

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“We risk our lives everyday for the country. We cannot be treated and be tossed from one pillar to the other. Government promised to provide the necessary services in a court order. For starters public transport has been stopped because of lockdown, how do we get to work,” a staff member who preferred to remain anonymous with fear of victimisation, shared with The Voice Online.

Reached for comment, the Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) President Obone Rahube was not a happy man. Rahube said: “The ministry made an undertaking to provide the necessary needs for staff, especially those at borders, quarantine and isolation areas. Out of nowhere they have now come up with this memo that they will stop the support they committed to providing for staff.”

Asked further what could have led to the decision Rahube said: “When it comes to transport they said that they have constraints, but we offered solutions in that they could easily borrow transport from those ministries which have completely shut down. They have no reasoning really.”

By time of going to press this morning, Government had released a memo withdrawing the memo dated 22 April. Efforts to reach GGDHMT top management proved futile as their ohones rang unanswered

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