Ongwediva — With the surge of new cases across the country, the Namibian Nurses Union is demanding the health ministry to allow nurses to claim more than the prescribed 40 hours overtime per month.
In an interview with New Era on Monday, NANU acting secretary general, Junias Shilunga said with the increased Covid-19 cases, nurses are now forced to work up to 100 hours because there is critical shortage of nurses in the health facilities.
“Our understanding is that nurses are forced to work more than 40 hours due to the critical shortage of nurses in our health facilities. This issue is also due to the huge influx of patients during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Shilunga.
“Considering the urgency of this and the ever increasing challenges our healthcare system is currently facing in the midst of this pandemic, we will highly appreciate if we can receive your response in the next 14 days,” said Shilunga further.
The unionist said the concerns were particularly raised in Kunene, Omusati and Otjozondjupa that during the last weeks saw an increased number of Covid-19 cases and a lack of mortuary space.
He said allowing nurses to claim more than 40 hours would motivate and boost the morale of the frontline nurses who have sacrificed their lives to fight the deadly pandemic.
Shilunga said the nurses have far too long compromised themselves to work more than 40 hours because there is no one to attend to the patients.
He said the situation becomes even worse when some nurses go on leave or in isolation as the numbers of nurses exposed continue to increase.