Saturday, September 26, 2020

Home-based care centres face closure

More than one thousands home-based care patients face the prospect of being let go as the Botswana Retired Nurses Society (BORNUS) finds itself in dire financial straits that could force the center to abandon its patients.

Staff members have already been cut from the payroll due to the financial crisis.

Information passed to the Telegraph suggests that BORNUS is on the verge of collapse as sponsors have not been as forthcoming with assistance as before.

The National Aids Coordination Agency (NACA) has apparently given a five-month helping hand to the center.

It is also understood that NACA has forced the center to reduce personnel in-order to reduce running costs.

The director of the center has volunteered to carry on with duties as usual though she has also been struck off the payroll.

“It is true that the center is in a financial crisis that has forced it to lay off some of its employees as a way of cutting costs,” said Mavis Kewakae, the director of BORNUS.

She said so far, BORNUS runs about three centers, namely, Tlokweng, Kanye and Morwa and these serve the public in the respective villages.

Kewakae said they have over 1,000 adult patients and close to the same number of orphans.

She added that if the situation does not improve they will have to narrow down their outreach and services.

She strongly denied that BORNUS is likely to collapse due to the current financial crisis that they are facing.

“The collapse won’t happen because I am hopeful that we will rise above the situation and there will be no deaths directly linked to our narrowing down of services and outreach areas,” she said.
Kewakae added that currently BORNUS receives no funding from international organizations.

She said the main sponsorship was from New Partners Initiative (NPI), a U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The fund amounted to $1.5 million and was only to run for three years. She revealed that PEPFAR gave them a grace period of two months which has just ended.

“We have been trying to source funds across the world. Some have already rejected and some have not yet responded to our request,” she said.

Kewakae, however, confirmed that they had sought assistance from NACA, which recommended a reduction of workers to only six nurses, fifteen community health workers, monitoring and evaluation officer as well as an administrator.

“I am no longer on the pay roll of the centre. I am just volunteering my services to the centre,” she said.

NACA also demanded a presentation of their budget, which amounts to a lot of money.
“I am not in a position to reveal the exact amount of money that we have requested,” Kewakae said.

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