‘Tše­pong stretched to the limit’

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

THE govern­ment is work­ing to­wards re­duc­ing the num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing treat­ment at Queen ‘ Mamo­hato Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal (QMMH) as it no longer serves its pur­pose as a re­fer­ral hos­pi­tal.

Min­istry of Health Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary ‘Mamoruti Ti­heli told the Le­sotho Times this week that the hos­pi­tal was un­able to cope with the high num­ber of pa­tients re­quir­ing treat­ment.

QMMH, which is pop­u­larly known as Tše­pong, was opened in Oc­to­ber 2011. The hos­pi­tal is 70 per­cent owned by Tše­pong (Pty) Ltd, a con­sor­tium of five com­pa­nies, while the govern­ment owns the re­main­ing 30 per­cent.

She said ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment reached be­tween the govern­ment and South Africa’s Net­care Hos­pi­tal Group, which holds 40 per­cent of the Tše­pong con­sor­tium, QMMH was only sup­posed to ac­com­mo­date 20 000 in-pa­tients and 310 000 out-pa­tients an­nu­ally.

“The agree­ment be­tween the govern­ment of Le­sotho and Net­care was clear that QMMH is a spe­cialised re­fer­ral hos­pi­tal, but now ev­ery­body comes to the hos­pi­tal with­out any re­fer­ral let­ter,” Ms Ti­heli said.

“The hos­pi­tal is meant to pro­vide ter­tiary med­i­cal ser­vices and not pri­mary and sec­ondary care med­i­cal ser­vices which are of­fered by clin­ics and other hospi­tals.”

She said the min­istry was de­vis­ing a way to de­cen­tralise the health de­liv­ery sys­tem to re­duce costs.

“When the hos­pi­tal was es­tab­lished, the govern­ment paid M253 mil­lion which in­creased an­nu­ally due to in­fla­tion. With the ex­tra pa­tients that are now com­ing, the govern­ment has to fork out even more money,” said Ms Ti­heli.

“The sit­u­a­tion has forced the Min­istry of Health to come up with a plan to min­i­mize the costs the govern­ment is in­cur­ring by en­sur­ing pa­tients with mi­nor ill­nesses go to the vil­lage health care cen­tres.

“If the money paid to Tše­pong were to be used to im­prove the vil­lage health cen­tre ser­vices by buy­ing equip­ment and in­creas­ing hu­man re­sources, there would be no need to for peo­ple to swamp the hos­pi­tal.”

She said the min­istry would en­force the re­fer­ral sys­tem to en­sure that only se­ri­ous cases would be sent to Tše­pong.

“We have to con­trol the num­ber of pa­tients who come to Tše­pong since we have health cen­tres in the dis­tricts. This, we will achieve by strength­en­ing the re­fer­ral sys­tem so that peo­ple don’t just come to the hos­pi­tal,” Ms Ti­heli said.

The min­istry, she said, was also work­ing to­wards mak­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth II hos­pi­tal fully op­er­a­tional to lighten Tše­pong’s load.

“Even though Queen II is not yet at 100 per­cent, since it’s only op­er­a­tional from morn­ing un­til the evening, we urge peo­ple to make ke use of the hos­pi­tal dur­ing the day,” Ms Ti­heli eli said.

“The The govern­ment is pri­or­i­tiz­ing the re­fur­bish­ment hment of Queen II and that process will be­gin in as soon as all the re­sources are availed to us. s. Our in­ten­tion is to make Queen II op­er­ate on a 24-hour ba­sis to re­duce con­ges­tion at QMMHMH and the high costs the govern­ment is in­cur­ring.”ur­ring.”

Shehe added that the min­istry would soon launch nch a cam­paign to at­tract Ba­sotho doc­tors work­ing in the di­as­pora to re­turn to Le­sotho as well as other highly ghly skilledlled health alth pro­fe­sofes­sion­als. nals.

Health Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary ‘Mamoruti ti­heli.

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