The Botswana Doctors Union has noted with concern a media release with regards to the above captioned competition from the Covid19 Task Force and would like to officially state our position as a union with regards to such an initiative.
The Botswana Doctors Union was established to advocate for professional needs of our members, provide a one voice approach and ensure that policies are best suited for public health, medical ethics, efficient and effective design and delivery of healthcare services, medical education and the professions terms and conditions of service.
As BDU, some of our core objectives are
• To improve the professional lives and ensure a safe and healthy working environment for doctors and allied health professionals
• To offer efficient administration of industrial matters to ensure that all members live in harmony with their employers and amongst themselves.
• To safeguard the integrity of the art of medicine and the doctor as a practioner.
• To encourage all public-private partnerships in the administration of ideas and promote collaboration between the two in order to advance the practice of medicine in Botswana.
As per the above objectives this initiative directly goes against our efforts and most of our professional values and entices for unfair practices within the profession.
Some of the main concerns are as follows:
• The competition will instil feelings of jealousy and competition at a critical time when working together and unity are of utmost importance amongst all front liners for the sake of the country throughout this pandemic.
• The competition structure is unfair as the judges, who are public voters, do not necessarily have much knowledge of who does what, when and how and therefore it is an unnecessary popularity contest.
• Each and every frontline worker on a daily is risking their own life and the lives of their families and this competition will instigate that some frontline workers are more important than others who are not voted for and hence it is ultimately divisive.
As a Union the participation of our members as frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic is undeniable and of utmost importance therefor it only makes sense to voice any grievances we feel may hinder and or compromise our members in any way.
The frontline work done during this COVID-19 pandemic times is a teamwork effort from ALL frontline workers to save as many lives as possible and we find this competition as an insensitive distraction for Frontline workers.
However as BDU, we recognise and appreciate the efforts from all stakeholders involved to celebrate frontline heroes and heroines, we understand the good intentions meant and regret that appropriate consultations with all stakeholders were overlooked. As a body that influences and supports the medical profession in improving the health of our nation, one of our core values is to be an indispensable source of credible information, guidance and support and therefore are more than willing to advice as necessary the best fitted solution to appreciate frontline workers without compromising the integrity and values of the professionals involved.
We therefor call for the cancellation of this competition and demand that it be revised into something that is more inclusive that will not divide and frustrate our members.
We look forward to your engagement for the rectification of this regrettable initiative.
Dr. C. Muyela
Secretary General – Botswana Doctors Union