ONGWEDIVA – Aggrieved nurses at the Khorixas district hospital have requested the regional health directorate to cease them from assisting at the local mortuary after hours, during weekends and on public holidays.
The aggrieved staff, in a letter addressed to their director Tomas Shapumba, said working at the mortuary is unlawful and it is not in their scope of practice as nurses.
They, thus, request of the director to allow the mortuary assistant to work at the facility after hours, weekend and public holidays.
They also demanded the ministry employs another assistant to work at the mortuary.
The director has been given until end of this month to find an alternative, as the nurses charge they will no longer attend to mortuary cases as of February this year.
“We are working under pressure. Mortuary job is not for everyone; lifting heavy weight is substantially risky to our health and life,” said the nurses.
Equally, the nurses say, attending to the mortuary is endangering the patient’s lives, as there are only two nurses in each department; as a result, they are forced to neglect their duty stations to attend to the mortuary.
“It is an offence to be absent from our working posts as nursing professionals and not carrying out our duties during the time of the mortuary attendance,” said the nurses further. Shapumba said he has received the letter and assured it will be forwarded to the relevant office.
Shapumba stated the current regulations in place, as prescribed in the public service management, allows for staff members other than the mortuary assistant to assist at the mortuary for an allowance of N$36 per body handled. According to the remuneration allowance of 2017, the allowance is payable to staff members to prepare, clean and release bodies to either family members or funeral services where posts of mortuary assistants are not provided and where autopsies are not performed. The director said the rates in place are applicable to all staff members on duty, including the nurses.
Shapumba further noted it does not mean their concerns will not be considered.
“We will study them and address them according to their needs,” said Shapumba.
While they are waiting for the issue to be addressed, Shapumba appealed to the nurses to continue working as is provided in the current provision.