Lesotho’s health system on its knees

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By Kefiloe Kajane

The virtually non-existent state of Lesotho’s health system has once again come under the spotlight following revelations suggesting that Covid-19 quarantine facilities are far from prepared to cope with the deadly global pandemic.

Nurses this week alleged that a recent fact-finding tour of the Berea and Mafeteng hospitals have revealed that the two government hospitals, which are specially designated to treat Covid-19 patients, do not have personal protective equipment as well as ventilators and oxygen.

They said quarantined people live in sub-human conditions, where they are made to go hungry for long hours in freezing lodgings without heating systems; in some case men and women are forced to share living space.

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They added that, despite communications company Vodacom Lesotho having donated 1,000 mobile phones to the ministry of health, to be distributed to nurses and other frontline workers, health workers still experience communication problems as they have to date not received the phones.

The fact that many nurses have not been consistently receiving their salaries, never miner mind risk allowances, does not augur well for Lesotho’s prospects of standing its own against the Covid-19 outbreak.