- BONU loses PPE case
- Says nurses are still committed to the fight against COVID-19
The Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) will not appeal the ruling of the Gaborone High Court that dismissed their case against the government with costs, BONU president, Obonolo Rahube, has said.
BONU had approached the High Court to press for safe working conditions in the fight against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). They also wanted government to screen all healthcare workers in the frontline of the fight with COVID- 19, provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE), food in the workplace, as well as accommodation in isolation from their families and the community. The isolation was to be during shifts and 14 days after their final shift or last interface with COVID suspects or quarantined individuals.
Speaking to The Botswana Gazette this week, Rahube said while their commitment to the fight against COVID-19 remained intact, safe and conducive working conditions for them were important and necessary.
“We only wanted the government to ensure that health workers in the front line are well protected,” he noted. “The safety of healthcare workers is critical because COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.
“The government has made an undertaking to provide these conditions and we hope they will live up to their word. The fact that one of our members has already been infected by this virus shows the critical need for us to have PPE.”
In its responding affidavit, the state had argued that it had provided protective equipment in accordance with its promise to healthcare workers in a letter dated 31 March 2020. In his ruling, Justice Godfrey Radijeng agreed with this, saying the state had already provided some, if not most, of the demands of the health care workers.
The government had announced suspension of provision of food and transport for all frontline workers on 22 April. However, the suspension was withdrawn two days later.