Nurse short­age hits health cen­tres

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

HEALTH cen­tres around the coun­try are be­set with an acute short­age of nurses that has crip­pled the health de­liv­ery sys­tem, le­sotho Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion (LNA) Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Mate­boho Khoanyane has said.

She said the short­age of nurses af­fected crit­i­cal health cen­tre ac­tiv­i­ties such as the run­ning of out­pa­tient clin­ics and in­pa­tient care in wards.

“there is a se­ri­ous short­age of nurses at health cen­tres, leav­ing pa­tients with no op­tion but to wait in long queues to get med­i­cal as­sis­tance,” said Ms Khoanyane.

“Every year, many nurses grad­u­ate, but some of them end up sit­ting at home wait­ing to be hired by the govern­ment.

“It’s sad that peo­ple con­tinue to suf­fer while we know the per­son­nel gap needs to be filled at our health cen­tres for them to pro­vide qual­ity health ser­vices to the pub­lic.”

She said le­sotho to­day joins the rest of the world in com­mem­o­rat­ing In­ter­na­tional Nurses Day (IND) de­spite the myr­iad chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try’s health-de­liv­ery sys­tem. IND is cel­e­brated around

“Pa­tients should also be of nor­mal weight to op­ti­mise the out­come of the surgery and min­imise the risk of post-op­er­a­tive com­pli­ca­tions.”

on the is­sue of sav­ing costs by bring­ing ser­vices closer to home, Dr Seeiso said: “Pa­tients op­er­ated on at QMMH pay highly sub­si­dized fees re­sult­ing in min­i­mal out-of­pocket costs.

“this is just one of the ex­am­ples where the le­sotho health­care sys­tem of­fers so­phis­ti­cated treat­ment to pa­tients that most cit­i­zens would other­wise not be able to af­ford.

“the costs of wait­ing for the surgery and other costs as­so­ci­ated with hospi­tal ad­mis­sions in South Africa are also dra­mat­i­cally re­duced when the op­er­a­tions are per­formed lo­cally.” the world on 12 May of each year to recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tions nurses make to so­ci­ety.

A pa­tient’s so­cial sup­port sys­tem is also en­hanced as fam­ily and friends can eas­ily visit their pa­tients at QMMH, a lux­ury most fam­i­lies do not af­ford when their loved ones are hos­pi­talised in South Africa, Dr Seeiso said.

“Per­form­ing the treat­ment lo­cally is not only ben­e­fi­cial to the pa­tients but also to the lo­cal staff as well.

“Sur­geons and the sup­port teams at QMMH have the ben­e­fit of learn­ing and shar­ing skills with the vis­it­ing sur­geons.

“At first, there were very few pa­tients on the wait­ing list but with im­proved di­ag­nos­tic skill and the ser­vive spread by word of mouth, de­mand for the in­ter­ven­tions is in­creas­ing,” she said.

Dr Seeiso how­ever said chal­lenges as­soci-

the date was cho­sen be­cause it is the an­niver­sary of the birth of Florence Nightin­gale, who is widely con- ated with of­fer­ing this ser­vice ranged from lo­gis­tics such as flight de­lays due to weather con­di­tions and cus­toms clear­ing.

“In its fifth year of op­er­a­tion, Queen ‘Mamo­hato Memo­rial Hospi­tal re­mains com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing the best treat­ment so­lu­tions for pa­tients,” she added.

Queen “Mamo­hato Memo­rial Hospi­tal opened its doors to pa­tients on 1 oc­to­ber 2011, re­plac­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth II Hospi­tal as the coun­try’s re­fer­ral hospi­tal.

“the 425 bed-hospi­tal also func­tions as the na­tion’s ma­jor clin­i­cal teach­ing site for health­care pro­fes­sion­als.

“the state-of-the-art hospi­tal of­fers a wide range of ser­vices and prides it­self in be­ing the leader in pro­fes­sional and skills de­vel­op­ment of health­care per­son­nel in the coun­try. sidered the founder of mod­ern nurs­ing. this year, the com­mem­o­ra­tions are set to be held un­der the theme

“Nurses: A Force for Change: Im­prov­ing health sys­tems’ re­silience”.

On his part, Health Min­is­ter Dr ‘Molotsi Monya­mane said the min­istry had so far hired 400 nurses and would em­ploy 500 more by the end of June to al­le­vi­ate the chal­lenge.

“In­deed the sit­u­a­tion has been dif­fi­cult con­sid­er­ing that when a pa­tient goes to a hospi­tal or clinic, the first per­son they deal with is a nurse be­fore be­ing seen by a doc­tor. And when doc­tors are not enough, we encounter chal­lenges,” Dr Monya­mane said, adding that they had also em­ployed 35 doc­tors.

“For the hir­ing of health work­ers to be pos­si­ble, M37 mil­lion was al­lo­cated to our min­istry. Hope­fully, in the next five years, phar­ma­cists and en­vi­ron­men­tal health as­sis­tants will also be hired.”

He said hir­ing nurses had been a chal­lenge since 2012 be­cause it needed the ap­proval of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC). The min­is­ter said the best way for­ward was the es­tab­lish­ment of a health ser­vice com­mis­sion since the PSC was over­bur­dened be­cause it catered for other min­istries.

“We were given the go ahead to draft a law that would see the es­tab­lish­ment of a health ser­vice com­mis­sion.

“If such a com­mis­sion be­comes op­er­a­tional, the staff short­ages we are fac­ing will be­come yes­ter­day’s news,” Dr Monya­mane said.

Some of the grad­u­ate nurses had not found em­ploy­ment. — File pic­ture.

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