VIOLENT crimes rocked various parts of Lesotho at the peak of the festive season with health centres across the country attending to 47 gunshot traumas and 1755 assault cases.
Speaking at a news briefing in Maseru on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Nyapane Kaya said he was concerned that scarce resources were being drained due to traumas, many of which can easily be prevented through responsible behaviour both on the public roads and in other public spaces.
Between 22 December 2017 and 2 January 2018, scores of patients were rushed to various health centres following 466 road accidents, and 64 cases of sexual assault reported while a total 514 people sustained injuries in various incidents of violence.
He expressed concern over the high number of trauma cases which occurred during the holiday, a time when health centres often struggle to access blood for transfusion as the main source of supplies, the schools, would be closed.
Mr Kaya was reporting cases attended to only in the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) and government health centres around the country.
“The report shows a disturbing trend of violence and irresponsibility, which sadly also endangers some innocent people. There is need for us to work together towards coming up with solutions that can help to change this culture of violence. The numbers are telling us that we have a problem that needs to be addressed for people to live in peace and to be healthy,” Mr Kaya said.
He emphasised the need to engage with communities and other actors to establish the underlying causes of violence in order to come up with remedial actions.
“It appears there are deep-seated issues we need to address to end violence including against women and girls. This report only covers a short period of time, and cannot fully illustrate the full magnitude of the trauma problem in the country, which I know is also a concern among other sectors, including the police,” Mr Kaya said.
He highlighted the need for all people to live within the confines of the laws of the country to put to good use the resources invested in the health sector.
“Currently, the health sector is grappling with some challenges, which are worsened by high numbers of trauma incidents. Some health facilities faced serious challenges to meet the demand for services amid limited transportation; shortage of blood; and inadequate human resources. There is a lot that members of the public can do to improve the performance of the health sector,” he said.
Also speaking at the media briefing, the Health Services Director General, Nyane Letsie said although over the years there has been a decrease in some types of trauma cases, there was need to strengthen partnership with various actors to significantly reduce cases and save lives.
“We need to do more to ensure effective prevention and reduction of trauma cases, particularly because this can suddenly increase the demand for services and negatively impact on limited resources,” Dr Letsie said.
She said through partnerships, the Ministry of Health will raise awareness on the health risks associated with trauma and post-traumatic experiences, and what communities can do to help reduce incidents of violence.