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Nurses Buying Own Uniforms Unfair – Union

By:Josefina Lukas

The Namibia Nurses Union (NANU) has demanded from government to provide nurses with uniforms as a matter of urgency.

The union claims nurses are forced to purchase their own uniform, which it maintains is a financial burden on them.

NANU Secretary General, JuniasShilunga, said nurses having to buy their own uniform is unjustified, further stating the issue of nurses’ aprons is a chronic one and the government is expected to provide these items.

Shilunga, who believes nurses buying own uniform to be an anomaly, said the union has approached the Health Ministry but their complaints are being addressed at a slow pace.

The nurses’ living conditions are also flagged as cause for concern, as they are forced to share a two-bedroom house at nurses’ quarters.

Shilunga said the government is supposed to provide proper living conditions for nurses especially in rural and remote areas.

“The government is [indifferent] towards healthcare providers. They expect them to deliver quality health care but they are not taking care of these people,” Shilunga charged.

The unionist said the meeting they had with officials from the Health Ministry regarding the uniform issue fell on deaf ears as no action was taken since.

During engagements with the National Council Standing Committee on Health, Social Welfare and Labour Affairs, a nurse from a small clinic in Mafuta settlement in Zambezi region, claimed he had not received a uniform from government for more than 17 years.

He further told the committee that he has been buying his own uniform which he claims is of low quality and does not last long.
He also informed the committee about the living conditions of nurses in the region, claiming that at times three nurses are forced to share a small two-bedroom house.
Meanwhile, Nanu has also demanded that nurses working at clinics cease working during weekends and after hours if the clinic is not proclaimed as a Health Centre.

“We have noted in some regions, nurses are forced to be on standby during weekends but are not getting compensated for that unless they see a patient,” the union said.

Approached for comment, health Executive Director Ben Nangombe, told The Villager, “the issues, whether it is regarding uniforms, living conditions or other supplies, the Ministry is in the process of attending to these issues and it is something that is receiving attention.”

Staff Writer

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