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Nurses Association sounds alarm: ‘Health facilities not prepared to care for staff or patients’

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Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020. 2:15 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Nurses Association of Belize issued a statement informing the public that the nurses are not satisfied with the materials and equipment being provided to them by the Ministry of Health as it relates to the current Covid-19 crisis.

The Nurse association informed that they have done a countrywide tour of the different health facilities.

A report on the condition of the various facilities and the concerns of the nurses was submitted to the Deputy Director of Health Services/Chief Nursing Officer on March 26, according to the association.

“We have not seen significant redress of our concerns to date,” the statement said.

In addition, the association says that the health facilities of Belize are not prepared to protect their staff and patients.

The association hereby presents a list of 6 key areas for redress and urges the Ministry of Health to address them urgently.

The association lists several significant concerns that are consistent throughout the country that they believe must be addressed immediately:

  1. Full biohazard PPEs for the entire first contact staff and those working anywhere in the designated COVID-19 areas.
  2. Proper areas for quarantine of the staff that is exposed and proper areas for all staff who cannot afford to self-isolate, and works in the COVID-19 areas and have a family.
  3. Allowances as promised, to frontline staff to be prepaid so that they can make the necessary arrangements with their families, as was expressed to be the justification for this allowance.
  4. Replace outside tents currently set up as flu clinics at the different hospitals, with more secure buildings or retrofit with adequate ventilation and cooling systems. A tent, though acceptable in a dire emergency, is no place for rendering high-quality service. The conditions that the staff is expected to work under are deplorable and in some instances like in Dangriga, San Ignacio and Punta Gorda are inhumane. Working in the heat under the tent is unbearable and further compromises safety as PPEs get soiled by perspiration.
  5. Provide transport for all staff that cannot afford their own transportation, given that the national transport services are not running at full schedule. (Private and public transport operators are hesitant to allow nurses on their vehicles for fear of contracting the virus.)
  6. The Nurses Association of Belize is the organization representing the broader nursing body in this beautiful country, currently working under the Ministry of Health. We demand that we are treated with greater respect and dignity.

The Nurses Association of Belize says that it has sent an email requesting an audience with the Minister of Health and with his CEO and to date that request has not even been acknowledged.

The association is calling on all nurses to report to work in their nurse’s T-shirts starting tomorrow until we see that changes are being effected as per their request.

“Additional measures that will not affect our services will be arranged if needed. The Nurses Association of Belize wishes to thank our nurses countrywide, along with all other frontline healthcare workers, and other public officers for their diligence and service to our country of Belize. We also extend our thanks to the media for the airtime and hereby request understanding and support in these demands of the Government of Belize, from our fellow unions and from the public,” the statement expressed.

 

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