Foreign nurses now receiving threats - Haufiku

As the fate of foreign nurses working in the country remains uncertain, health minister, Bernard Haufiku has revealed that they are being issued with threats by unknown persons within the ministry and outside.

This comes in the wake of a group calling itself the Namibian Unemployed Registered Nurses having given them until end of this month to resign or make way for Namibians. 

Ministerial data shows that 314 foreign nurses were working in Namibia by August last year out of a number of 714 professionals. 

Speaking to members of the press yesterday, Haufiku, who was not in a position to specify what these kind of threats were, stamped that the ministry would not be moved saying the process of dealing with expatriate health professionals will take time.

“It sounds more like a desperate situation, we have to deal with this matter in an amicable manner, in a professional manner and the ministry is hard at work in resolving this issue,” he told journalists. 

He said while every country has the obligation to absorb its citizenry within the public labour space, it was inevitable to make use of foreign hands as well. 

But he said the ministry has a task to handle the matter of the foreign nurses in a manner that does not create animosity, stir up human rights issues and does not set up the ministry for litigation.

“We just want the public to understand this as well,” he added saying that he can’t just make a decision to drop every other foreign nurse at one go, “Any one threatening any other person will of course face the consequences,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Haufiku will not respond to threats or be pushed by those that “toy-toy” at the ministry’s door but has urged people to report grievances through formal channels. 

Also speaking to the press, health ministry acting permanent secretary Petronella Masabane said the foreign expatriates expressed that their work environment was no longer conducive because of remarks by their Namibian counterparts.

“That should stop! It’s not the genetic make up of our nation,” she rapped.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has also given its update on the Hepatitis E outbreak of which 17 deaths have been recorded.

“The main drivers that were identified for the Windhoek Hepatitis E outbreak include, open defecation, poor sanitation and hygiene practices. This calls for behavioral change of affected community members,” said Haufiku.

In light of the Influenza A H1N1 he has also urged people to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza, washing of hands with soap and water and avoiding to touch noses, eyes and mouth to prevent germs preventing.