Hospital hit by staff shortages

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

MOTEBANG Hospital’s District Medical Officer, Malitaba Litaba, has appealed to government to help ease the shortage of doctors in the Leribe district, saying the current four doctors were overwhelmed and could not adequately serve the 300 000-strong population.

Ms Litaba said this in a recent interview with the Lesotho Times during a recent tour of the hospital.

She said the shortage of doctors and other medical personnel prevented them from meeting their targets in delivering health services.

“The hospital is operating with only four doctors for a population of 300000,” Ms Litaba said, adding, “there is no way the services provided will be satisfactory to the people”.

“The staff shortages have spawned a vicious circle of patients complaining and doctors feeling unappreciated for the hard work they do.”

She said they found it hard to understand that the neighbouring Berea district had been allocated seven doctors and yet its population was smaller than that of  the Leribe district whose numbers were swelled by thousands of factory workers in Maputsoe.

“Leribe is more complex than Berea because we have people working in the factories in Maputsoe and that means there is a huge population which requires more medical personnel.”

Ms Litaba further stated that the hospital also lacked adequate equipment to perform its functions.

“Our laboratory is not well-equipped and this makes it impossible for the hardworking doctors and nurses to deliver the correct diagnoses to patients.

She said it had been more than a year since they last examined patients for cervical cancer using Pap Smear because the laboratory lacked the right apparati to perform such procedures.

“Only when we have well-equipped laboratories and at least three specialist pathologists can we treat cervical cancer properly.”

She further said that the shortage of equipment also contributed to maternal and child mortalities in the district.

“We have a number of woman who die while giving birth and children who die after being born because there is no equipment to help in the care of prematurely born children. The other challenge is that of mothers who lose a lot of blood during childbirth woman lose a lot of blood and these cannot be helped because the hospital does not always have blood stocks,” Ms Litaba said.

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