- Union holds that having soldiers do so would be taking a wrong path
- Says other professions and the public should not be compromised
The Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has warned the government against compromising the law by deploying soldiers to dispensaries at public health facilities.
The union was reacting to a suggestion made by the MP for Letlhakeng/Lephephe, Liakat Kablay, to that effect as a stop-gap measure in the course of the current stand-off between the government and nurses.
BONU spokesperson Shana Mogorosi says if there is something that can be done to break the stand-off and resolve the issue causing it, it should be done without compromising nurses, other professions and members of the public.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Kablay had asked why soldiers could not be deployed to dispense prescribed medicines and drugs at public health facilities. “Why can’t our minister consider asking them to help as it was done in the past? It is high time something was done to solve this problem,” he said.
However, the position of BONU is that doing so would violate the law. “The legislators know we are here to help them solve the issue but they chose a wrong path from way back,” he said in an interview.
“They know the right thing. If there is something that can be done that is lawful, let it be done without compromising nurses, other professions or the public. Qualifications
“If soldiers have qualifications, it is fine. But if the soldiers do not have the right qualifications, it is unlawful. We have said this many times and thought the authorities would come to the table to find common ground that does not subject nurses to unlawful acts.”
The debate in Parliament followed a recent threat by BONU to institute legal proceedings if the government did not stop assigning nurses and midwives to dispense medicines and drugs at public health facilities.
The union recently ordered nurses and midwives to resist such orders, citing violation of ethics of their profession. However, the ministry responded by telling nurses and midwives that they should have no fear because legal processes to authorise them to work in dispensaries had been set in motion.