Nurses last week through their union’s attorneys Sepego Legal Practice served the Ministry of Health and Wellness with a notice of intention to sue over failure to provide nurses with resources necessary to do their job.
“General order 89 recognizes and acknowledges that certain categories of officers are required to wear uniforms in their duties and as such are entitled to receive such uniforms. Moreover, in terms of General Order 89.2, other categories of officers are entitled to receive uniform allowance are as per General Order 89.3 listed in Annexure 25 which includes Nursing staff and nursing assistants,” reads the notice in part.
Botswana Nurse’s Union (BONU) President Obonolo Rahube says they decided to involve their lawyers since nothing has changed even after they raised the issue of shortage of resources with ministry officials on several occasions. He said for years, nurses have had to buy their own uniforms due to failure by the ministry to abide by the general order.
In the minutes obtained from one of their meetings with the ministry officials, the union argued that over the past years, the supply of uniform by government to nurses has been relatively low and that it does not only render the identity of their profession insignificant but also makes it difficult for the union to pin down their members when not in uniform.
BONU further noted that even the warranted provision given to facilities for uniform is often insufficient and it is also general as it caters for the entire staff. “The union therefore requests for uniform allowance at the rate of P300 equivalent to that of mission hospitals to curb the many challenges associated with the provision of uniform by government, such as issues of size, quality and delayed procurement.”
In their response, the ministry had stated during one of the meetings in June 2017 that the issue of uniform allowance had been overtaken by events. They stated that while nurses advocated for the type of uniform they wanted in 2008, it was kept on hold due to the unacceptable patterns as per health standards. “This has been approved by BOBS although delayed, the process is underway.”