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Ministry engages axed Tšepong nurses

The Minister of Health Semano Sekatle


April 25, 2021 3 min read

3 min read


THE 276 nurses who were dismissed by the Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (Tšepong) earlier in March are expected to resume duties at various health centres across the country effective from May 1, the Ministry of Health has announced.

The nurses were shown the door after they went on strike demanding a salary increase.

The Minister of health Semano Sekatle said the government urgently needs the nurses’ service, especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the dismissed nurses are professionals who are well-skilled in their duties, adding it would be a waste of resources to have them loitering in the streets when they could be doing so much for the already overwhelmed health sector.

Mr Sekatle said the ministry currently has 250 vacancies for nursing sisters only, which were budgeted for, adding however that the ministry will absorb all the 276 nurses with no problem to pay them.

He added: “These are nurses who were previously employees of Tšepong, and they are now going to work fulltime for the government.”

For her part, the Director General of the Ministry of Health Dr ’Nyane Letsie said they are not going to work alone as the ministry, adding that they will engage nurses associations, councils and committees that have been organised to ensure that things move smoothly going forward, for the benefit of Lesotho and Basotho.

“We are not engaging them for the first time as we have been with them throughout, to establish the best way forward, hence, they know what they will be dealing with.

“They know the contents of the Public Service Act of 2005, the regulations of 2008, the code of conduct, and they definitely know that those are the documents that will guide their service delivery,” Dr Letsie also noted.

Several other nurses, however, did not participate in the strike and maintained faith in the arbitration process while continuing to provide services during the uncertain period.

In spite of the lengthy industrial action, Tšepong kept providing medical services to its patients through the nursing staff that did not join the strike.


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Non-critical services such as outpatient services continued without much disruption. In-patient and emergency services also continued and the hospital maintained the average number of in-patients ordinarily treated per day while also upholding the safe nurse-to-patient ratios.

Earlier in March, the government cut ties with the Tšepong Consortium, which has run the hospital since it began operations in 2011.

The association between the two former partners has always been a cause for concern for years with the consortium guzzling almost half the government’s entire annual health budget.

Tšepong was opened in October 2011, replacing Queen Elizabeth II Hospital as Lesotho’s major referral health care centre.

The government announced that it could no longer continue its 18-year Private Public Partnership (PPP) signed in 2008 with the Tšepong Consortium for the construction, running and transfer of the hospital because of major misunderstandings that had clouded the pact from the very start.

 

 

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