Government hospitals and clinics around the country are reported to have lost tens and tens of staff members to the new Bokamoso Private Hospital, which is due to open later this year in Mmopane.
According to reliable medical sources, Gaborone’s Princess Marina Hospital has lost more than 20 staff members, some of them in the senior category.
Besides Marina Hospital, the source said, other hospitals and clinics around the country have also lost some staff members.
”It is not only Marina Hospital that has lost staff members; almost all the hospitals and clinics around the country have lost staff members to the news hospitals,” said the source.
The new hospital is reported to be promising lucrative salaries, which government employees can only dream about.
The source said that nurses have been annoyed by the government’s decision to refuse to pay them scarce skills’ allowance as is happening with employees of other departments whose skills are regarded as scarce.
Besides scarce skills allowances, the source said that nurses felt that the government has, in general, not treated them as it should have bearing in mind the heavy tasks the nurses are facing.
For example, she said that in rural areas, where there are no doctors, nurses act as doctors but the government refuses to accept their importance in so far as the health of the nation is concerned.
”Nurses in rural areas act as doctors as well, but the government is refusing to accept that and refusing to pay them what they deserve or to at least acknowledge that,” said the source.
While the coming of Bokamoso Hospital is a great relief, the poaching of the nurses will leave the remaining nurses with more work load than they currently carry and that may force the government to source for manpower from outside the country.
“Foreign nurses are a burden. Since they do not understand the local language, they always have to be accompanied by locals around hospital wards as they do not speak local languages. The government should not heavily rely on them,” said the source.
She added that the government has two choices: either it swallows its pride and pays nurses what they deserve to be paid to retain them or to lose them to incoming competitors like Bokamoso.
Commenting on the matter, Ministry of Health’s Public Relations Officer, Themba Sibanda, confirmed that some nurses had resigned from government employment.
“They did not state where they were going in their resignation letters, as such we cannot say they had gone to join Bokamoso”, he stressed.
On how many had left government institutions in recent weeks, he said they do not have specific numbers as well “because resignations are continuous and people are free to work where they chose”.
Sibanda explained that they are continuously advertising to fill posts.