Botswana Federation of Trade Unions and the nation at large learnt with great shock about the brutal rape of a female nurse at the Extension 2 clinic on Sunday (22nd April 2018). What is more shocking to note is that this unfortunate incident happened inside the hospital where there were security officers, other workers and patients. BFTU joins other commentators and the public to condemn in strongest terms the brutal and inhumane act of rape by the perpetrator upon our fellow worker.
The Sunday incident clearly shows that security and safety of workers in general and shift workers specifically needs to be enhanced since working at night and in some instances alone exposes workers to greater risks such as the one in question. The workplace should be a safe and secure environment for workers; therefore, we urge all Ministries and private organisations to adopt procedures that safeguard workers from such attacks and other threats to their safety and security. One of the struggles of workers is to fight for safe and secure working conditions and therefore we call upon all workers to stand up and ensure that their working environment is improved by employers. Workers should refuse to work under unsafe and insecure working environment as this is their right.
Botswana Police services should also be more involved in ensuring the safety of the workers and public particularly in public places such as hospitals. Sexual violence transcends all socioeconomic boundaries therefore all cases must be investigated and perpetrators brought to book so that justice prevails.
BFTU and all its affiliates stand in solidarity with the victim and urge her co-workers, community and employer to give her the support and assist her as is necessary to ensure that all the necessary processes and counselling is done to prepare her to get back to work. As we commemorate the World Day on Safety and Health in the Work Place on Saturday 28th April we call upon all workers to remember the ordeal that our beloved sister has gone through and all the workers who have suffered because of unsafe and insecure workplaces.
Rape Incident in Health Facility
Early Sunday morning one of our female nurses was raped on duty at Extension 2 clinic in Gaborone. The incident happened when the nurse was on a health break at around 4am. The nurse was seen by doctors the same morning in the clinic and the incident was reported to the Police who responded promptly to the crime scene.
The Ministry leadership met with staff and also visited the victim’s family to offer emotional support. Counseling services have also been sought for the entire staff of the health facility and investigations are on-going.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness condemns this inhuman and unfortunate incident. The Ministry appeals to the public and stakeholders, including the community to work together in ensuring that public places such as health facilities remain safe and trusted by users.
The Ministry regrets this incident and assures the public that measures are being put in place to ensure that such incidents do not happen again in future. Some of the issues include:
1. Extension 2 clinic operating hours will be reduced to 1930hrs effective today Monday 23rd April 2018 to Wednesday 25th April 2018 to allow the Ministry to deal with this issue. Normal services will resume on Thursday 26th April 2018.
2. The Botswana Police has been approached to offer surveillance to facilities offering 24 hours service.
3. Strengthening facility management and security services to prevent these incidents happening in future.
4. Meetings with stakeholders such as Unions will be commenced to collectively find ways of preventing such incidents in future
Dr Alfred Madigele
Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness