Tuesday, September 22, 2020

In Botswana, hundreds of graduate nurses roam the streets while shortage of mid-wives escalates

A national Nurses Union has made claims that a death wish list has been hatched among children born in hospitals in Botswana. This comes after reports that the government continues to fail to deploy adequate midwives for delivery mothers in hospitals.

As a result, the Botswana Nurses Union (BNU) is worried about the shortage of midwifery cadre at height of maternal and child mortality in Botswana in a document titled “COMPROMISED HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN GOVERNMENT HEALTH FACILITIES”.

The union indicated that there is a likelihood that deaths among live births which stood at 5210 according to Statistics Botswana from 2003 up to 2012 could rise as a result of midwife cadre shortage.

The Botswana Nurses Union fact finding mission revealed that there is inadequate midwives cadre in hospitals which pose a risk to delivering women and their newly born.  

The nurses union is worried that the current situation could worsen the issue of child and maternal mortality that Botswana has been struggling with for years.

BNU Publicity Secretary – Aobakwe Lesolame indicated the union continues to observe with great concern and grief the consequences of severe shortage of health care personnel in government facilities particularly the nursing and midwifery cadre.

“ The severe shortage of health personnel have seriously compromised and undermined the healthcare system throughout the country coupled with dilapidated infrastructure, frequent stock outs of drugs and medical supplies and shortage of medical equipment have made Botswana health system a health hazard”, said Lesolame.

He indicated that it was disheartening that Botswana was failing to provide adequate midwifery in hospitals which could spark the increase of maternal and child mortality incidents which are clear sign of poor health system.

Lesolame says ensuring healthy lives and promoting the wellbeing at all ages is essential for achievement of the Sustainable Development goals especially on reduction of Child and Maternal mortality.

He further noted that it is a serious embarrassment for a country that is known as a shining democracy to have a situation like this persisting despite availability of prompt suitable and sustainable solutions.

Lesolame says the undesired situations currently happening in the biggest government health facility such as Princess Marina Hospital where over 111 newly delivered mothers and close to 79 new born babies are cared for by 4 nurses during the day shift and 2 nurses during the night shift need urgent attention.

Lesolame says the congestion and overflow of patients has resulted to some woman who gave birth and patients being admitted sleeping on the floors and corridors. BONU indicated that the issue of Princess Marina is a tip of the iceberg as the country continues to witness shortage of midwifery cadre who are unable to extend their optimal care to delivering mothers in hospitals.

According him Botswana health system is gauged by maternal and child deaths which showed that Botswana is still lagging behind as shown by the Statistics Botswana where maternal deaths stood at 395 from 2011 up to 2015.

He also noted that the public is already losing trust on the system and the service providers who majority of them are nurses and midwifes.

Meanwhile the union has advised the government to promptly employ all nurses and midwives who are roaming the streets and rusting away the necessary skills. BONU says it is pathetic to suffer a serious shortage while the country has experienced and skilled nurses that are unutilised.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.