Nurse shortage hits health centres
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.