Minister of Health, Dorcas Makgato has expressed concern over poor work ethic by some nurses.
The minister said such poor work ethic was costing government money due to litigations.
Speaking during the Botswana Nurses Day Celebrations in Letlhakane village last week, she said while some nurses strive for professional excellence towards providing quality care, there are still others who are failing in their ethical and professional obligations.
“I understand that there are nursing leadership structures, referred to as the QUAD, comprising of Chief Nursing Officer, representatives from education institutions and the Nursing Council and Botswana Nurses Union whose responsibility is to ensure that nursing in Botswana serves its intended purpose including the maintenance of high professional standards. The non-adherence to these set of standards continues to cost my ministry a lot of money from litigations,” she said.
Makgato also said that it is crucial for nurses to be resilient in their profession as they are the backbone of any health care system.
She said that through resilience, the Botswana health care system has transformed with noticeable achievements. She said that despite difficult and trying times in Botswana, nurses have continued to be resilient and they are worthy of praise. The minister also said that universal trends in health are currently being shaped by numerous forces such as emerging disease patterns and the challenge to meet health needs.
“This is for an example, the rise in lifestyle related chronic conditions, emergence of the Ebola virus and recently the Zika virus. My ministry takes this opportunity to recognize the nurse’s resilience during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Nursing responsiveness was commendable; you were in the forefront working diligently to ensure that the disease does not enter our borders,” she said.
Makgato also raised concerns over the rise in non-communicable diseases in Botswana and the world over. She however said nurses have continued to contribute significantly in improvement of child survival, reduction in Malaria, TB, Polio and decreasing spread of HIV/Aids. She also said the success of most health programmes and campaigns in Botswana are indebted to the commitment of the nursing workforce.
“I am happy to say that in dealing with the rise in non-communicable diseases my ministry has adopted a paradigm shift of moving from curative to prevention. Hence prevention is our cornerstone of tackling non-communicable diseases,” she said
Among other important issues, Makgato said with the new health trend of the emergence of non-communicable diseases, the role of the community health nurse is important more than ever before and must be strengthened. She also said that it is important to intensify counselling to promote behavioural change. She emphasized that nursing in communities should be more visible as one of the ways of revitalizing Primary Health Care.
“The running and function of most health facilities in Botswana is the responsibility of the nurse. Despite shortage of this human resource, Botswana has shown great strides in attaining the UNAIDS ‘90/90/90′ targets in line with ending HIV/Aids by 2030,” added the Minister.
While she acknowledged the burden of the nurses workload, staff shortages and other work related challenges Makgato encouraged nurses to be aware of Sustainable Development Goals(SDG’s) put them into practice and most importantly achieve them.
The celebrations were held under the theme “NURSE: A force for change. IMPROVING HEALTH SYSTEMS RESILLIENCE’.