Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) proudly joins the world, and the nursing fraternity in particular, in commemorating the International Day of Nursing namely 12 May 2021 in acknowledgement of the extra-ordinary contribution the nurses make to the wellbeing of society in our midst and across the globe.
Many attributes have been ascribed to the vocation of nursing and other poetic definitions have been given in order to express the extra ordinary role nurses play in our everyday life. As for us at BFTU we share the view that the term, “Nurse” is just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone.
Often times our own frustrations and pain have tended to spur us into neglect and disrespect for nurses when we need their assistance the most because even in the most trying of circumstances including unconducive environments we expect them to bend to our plight. And always they do.
The commemoration of this day is thus to accord them the honour and respect that is due to them. It is for that reason that we at the BFTU finds it pertinent to ask whether workers’ rights and wellbeing are being taken care of even as we commemorate this day.
It is therefore our considered view that nurses’ conditions of service can only be conducive if they are based on international standards as set by the International Labour Organization(ILO) and WHO. The most salient being the ILO’s Convention on Occupational Health and Safety, Labour Inspections and Occupational Health Services.
Suffice it to say that it still beats logic to understand why our government is still reluctant to ratify these and other key conventions having been requested to do for many years.
That said this year’s World Nursing Day is remarkable in more ways than one. Firstly, it is the observance of the fifty sixth year since the introduction of the first commemoration in 1965. Secondly, the day coincides with the anniversary of the birth of the founding mother of the profession, an English Nurse, Social Reformer and Statistician; Florence Nightingale.
But more importantly, this year Nurses’ day stands out as the year that health care workers around the globe rededicated their lives to the profession and sacrificed by occupying the frontline in the local, national and international efforts to combat the covid-19 pandemic.
It is in that context that member states at World Health Organization(WHO)’s 73rd World Health Assembly last November unanimously resolved to recognize and designated the year 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers(YHCW).
BFTU recognizes that in addition to enabling recovery and wellbeing of people despite challenges presented by limited resources and other constraints, the role of nurses in either case even without a prescription, is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to complete the recuperation process.
We note that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by nurses and health care workers generally, and further that their diversified role now is to carry out several more tasks at the workplace than ever before.
It would therefore be remiss of us not highlight the need for observance of world best practice and therefore continuous alignment of laws by government in line with international protocols for assuring protection of nurses and health care workers from work related hazards.
The peculiar nature of risks health care workers is exposed to must be also taken into consideration in determining their remuneration and incentives. Against this backdrop we support the nurses’ and WHO’s call for increased efforts at protecting nurses and health care workers by investing more in their development and empowerment for the ultimate good of the greater society, hence the theme, “PROTECT, INVEST, TOGETHER”.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
I thank you
Thusang Butale (Mr)