ABOUT 50 unemployed registered nurses and radiographers on Tuesday staged a peaceful demonstration, were they handed over a petition to the office of governor in Oshana demanding employment.
The nurses and radiographers held up placards written “hire our nurses”, “release all 300 registered nurses’ posts”, and “we say no to one post for 50 radiographers and assistant radiographers fund all 52 posts”.
They also demanded that the Ministry of Health and Social Services stop promising them that it is going to create a thousand posts for registered nurses, which they say is not realistic.
The protesting nurses completed their studies at the University of Namibia, International University of Management and Welwitchia University.
According to the spokesperson of the group, Johannes Salomon, they wrote a letter to the Executive Director of MoHSS on 25 May this year in which they asked for employment, but they were told that there are only 78 vacant posts for registered nurses on Grade 8 on its approvedl staff establishments.
“We the registered nurses refuse the 78 posts that the government is offering us. 78 posts are only a drop in the ocean of 300 unemployed registered nurses, provided that the disease burden has increased and is so the nurse-patient ratio. This should be looked at,” said Salomon.
According to him, hospitals have staff shortages, patients spend hours in queues and nurses are overworked. In the nation that sings Harambee Prosperity, in term of health, this should have meant each patient deserves a fair quality health services, however this is made difficult by the current state of affairs in the public health facilities.
Salomon stated that in this economic crisis they believe that government would be able to fund 500 posts from its 2019/20 financial budget.
Salomon said the 78 posts is not only an insult to unemployed registered nurses, but also an insult to the public, who are spending long hours in hospitals queues to seek medical services.
The unemployed radiographers and assistants also noted that they are very important in any health sector, as they provide radiographic services including X-rays to the patients for diagnostic purposes.
“Due to this shortage, patients are forced to stay and wait in long queues at X-ray departments, or patients are sent home when radiology departments close on the weekends due to a lack of radiographers working shifts in the regions,” said Valentine Kalola, a radiographer graduate.
The nurses have given the ministry until 1 August to employ them, saying failure to do so they intend march to the embassy of United State of America to ask their government to stop funding the USAID programs. While the radiographers and assistants have given the ministry until September.
Accepting the petition on behalf of Oshana Governor, Michael Mwinga, said both petitions carry a message of clear concern over the health of women, men and children of the Namibian people.
He assured them that he will forward the petition to relevant authorities.