A recent meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Botswana (NMCB) has resolved to withdraw practicing licenses of hundreds of nurses after it was discovered that they are under qualified.
Following intense discussions, the meeting adopted decisive measures aimed at asserting NMCB‘s authority and restoring dignity to the nursing profession.
Withdrawal of practicing licenses is topmost in the NMCB agenda, which is a result of a benchmarking exercise that has been going on for the past three years.
Nancy Modisaotsile, Chairperson of NMCB, confirmed in an earlier interview that the Council met on December 15th.
“Issues pertaining to international best nursing practices, as well as reviewing of nurses’ competencies are certainly of paramount importance, and they must be seen in the context of the regular business of the council,” said Modisaotsile.
In a previous address to the health fraternity, former Minister of Health, Lesego Motsumi, told a closed workshop meant for nurses and midwifery leaders that, “NMCB and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) have benefitted enormously from the benchmarking process, and a number of countries in the region have begun to effect measures to enhance service delivery to its customers.”
The decentralization of renewal of registration to eight strategic facilities across the country was cited as one the achievements of the benchmarking process. In addition, the waiting period between the time of submission of applications for registration and the point of approval or rejection have been reduced from six to three months.
Motsumi added that the benchmarking process has enabled NMCB to compare, and to determine more accurately, those who qualify to register and practice in Botswana.
“I am informed that measures have been taken to register some of our employees, after benchmarking with regional bodies and appropriate consultation with their respective countries. As a developing nation our education and practice standards must not be compromised on account of political convenience,” said Motsumi.
The registrar of NMCB, Khumo Modisaemang, was at pains to refute allegations that the NMCB is at an advanced stage in instituting actions to de- register close to fifty nurses and further demote hundreds of them, especially those from Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
It has also been established that a number of graduates from South African institutions who have only done their first degree have already been either barred from practicing as midwives or struck off the midwifery roll, rather being recruited as general nurses, largely because they are viewed to be of a standard that is below that which Botswana appreciates.
NMCB insiders have, however, revealed that the matter has legal ramifications which, they say, government should avoid as much as possible.
Meanwhile, the ongoing exodus of nurses to the private sector and foreign health institutions continues unabated.