• Ministry not adhering to 25% staff quota
• Congestion in offices, zero ventilation
• Dr Kwape not aware of situation
Anxiety is reigning supreme among staff at the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) headquarters at Government Enclave as safety is compromised due to non-compliance to Covid-19 Precautions.
Worried employees are of the view that their health and safety is compromised by their superiors, demanding that Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Lemogang Kwape intervene. The Patriot on Sunday has learnt that there is no proper compliance to Covid-19 health protocols as there is social distancing measures are not adhered to despite the ministry preaching compliance to the public.
Impeccable sources within the MoHW revealed that the 25% staff quota in workplaces ordered by Covid-19 Regulations is violated with impunity where senior employees force their surbodinates to work at 100% staff compliment. This is contrary to a number of government departments that have implemented shifts for workers in an effort to reduce congestion in office space, therefore allowing some staff to work remotely from home. “There is no compliance to the stipulated protocols within the workplace. Staff is overcrowded from floor 1 to floor 9 and there is no ventilators for that matter. We are very much concerned about our health and safety in the situation we find ourselves in,” said one worried employee.
Workers further noted that there is no distribution of sanitizers for individuals meaning that opening of doors by overcrowded staff is done with bare hands with unsatinitised toilets too.
The Secretary General of Botswana Land Board, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said it will be awkward if health ministry violates rules. He said the alleged gross negligence on health protocols at ministry’s headquarters is worrisome. According to Motshegwa, MoHW should be leading by example to promote adherence to health protocols set by them, adding that keeping 100% staff equates to irresponsibility. “Health workers have since been affected by the disease and we expect the ministry to tighten screws but if the workers are exposed by the ministry it is very unfortunate,” he said.
As the union representing health workers as well, Motshegwa says the condemn the ministry for not observing 25% staff quota stressing that occupational safety should not be compromised.
Due to the high risks emanating from the situation of not implementing 25% staff quota, Motshegwa says that is advisable for ministry to do through testing of staff immediately.
The Minister of Health Dr Lemogang Kwape directed this publication to Permanent Secretary Kabelo Ebineng saying he hasn’t been at the office for some time as he attends daily Parliament sessions. Ebineng was not available for comment as his mobile was off at time of going to print.
The threat of Covid-19 continues to escalate significantly in Botswana more especially that cases are confirmed from health facilities hence putting the country under immense pressure to curb escalation. By Friday, Princess Marina hospital confirmed 31 positive cases of Covid-19 within its premises affecting both patients and health workers this raising alarm that virus could go out of control.
In the public space, the increase in new cases recorded recently has been attributed to people’s disregarding of the rules laid out to mitigate against the spread of the virus beyond a lockdown.