Health services to the people!

Health services to the people!

Rose Moremoholo

BEREA

AT eight months, TebelloMautsoe, 26, is heavily pregnant with baby.
But to get to Maluti Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Mapoteng, Mautsoe has to travel 19 kilometres to the road and then catch a taxi a further seven kilometres on a tarred road.
That is a challenging trip, and is even more challenging when one is pregnant.
The road from her village of Nokong, in Berea district, is in a bad state.
In fact, there is no longer a road there, just a collection of rocks along what used to be a road.
Because Mautsoe is HIV positive, her biggest fear is that she might find herself giving birth away from a health facility, posing serious risk to her unborn baby.
She fears she might transmit the HIV virus to her baby.
Mautsoe has been through this road before.
Seven years ago, she delivered her son at home and it was not a very good experience, she says.
She says she had labour pains at night and there were no taxis. The only person who could help was her mother.
Using the bare basic kitchen utensils, her mother helped her deliver the baby. The baby was only sent to the clinic for check-up two weeks after his birth.
“It was not an easy experience,” Mautsoesays.
While Mautsoe’s story can induce a sense of shock, it is nothing new for the people in Nokong who say they have grown accustomed to such experiences.
It is common for villagers in Nokong to give birth at home because health facilities are far from their village.
To get to Maluti Hospital, the villagers spend at least M52 on transport alone, no small figure in a country where the majority live on less than one United States a day.
The other clinic they can visit, Sebiling Clinic, is even farther away and a trip to the clinic costs M92.
This is still a lot of money for villagers who rely on subsistence farming.
Mautsoesays she is expecting to deliver later next month.
She says a number of villagers have died after they failed to access medical help on time because of the distance between Nokong and Mapoteng.
She says many more still deliver at home because they do not have money to stay at the maternity houses at the hospital while waiting to deliver.
But Mautsoehas to travel to Maluti Hospital because that is where she gets her antiretroviral medicines.
“It is very costly for me to travel to Maloti just to get my ARVs or go for my antenatal clinic visits,” Mautsoe says.
“Sometimes I have to walk on foot and it has become difficult each day as my pregnancy ages,” she says.
“Now that it is winter, leaving home at around five o’clock in the morning while still dark makes it even more difficult.”

A local councillor, ChephaneMothae, says transport and roads have always been a challenge for the council.
“People travel on horseback for eight hours from Mapheleng to Maime to get health services, so imagine someone with TB who has to travel such distances and in the cold to get to a health facility,” Mothae says.
“The conditions are bad,” he says.
Mothae says the funds the council gets from the governmentare not enough to cover the needs of the community.
“The M260 000 that we are given is very little and we are expected to provide proper services to the people. My team and I have a quotation of foot bridges for Borakapane and Majoe-matšo and one bridge costs M500 000.That means it would take us two years to cover the costs of building one bridge,” he says.
“We need to build at least 18 foot bridges,” Mothae says.
The bridges would connect several villages to Mapoteng where there are health facilities.
To deal with these challenges facing villagers in Nokong, the Ministry of Health has trained 35 village health workers to equip them with basic skills.
The village health workers were awarded certificateslast Friday.
The health workers underwent a six-week training course to train them so that they can bring basic health services closer to the people.
Health Minister’MolotsiMonyamane saysthis is one of the programmes the ministry is planning to roll out to improve service delivery to hard-to-reach districts of Lesotho.
“We have the highest HIV and TB prevalence in the world and we need to work together to fight this kind of status. We are working towards that through the village health service providers,” Monyamane says.
Lesotho has the first highest HIV prevalence rate in the world with at least 23 percent of the country’s 1.8 million being HIV positive. That means one in every four people are infected with the virus.
Monyamanesays it is vital that the trained village health workers work diligently, effectively and efficiently.
“Be trustworthy, don’t become liars and you should keep patients’ illnesses confidential. In health we work with secretive people, who will not gossip about the health status of those who they help,” he said.
Monyamane says the villagers should not wait for the government to build them a small clinic but they should build it themselves.
“Men should build the foundation, women should help and with children collecting stones. When you have built it with your own hands you will not vandalise it, you will protect it as it would be your own,” he says.
Monyamanepromises to visit the village with health specialists and experts to give them services.
“We are bringing those in the diaspora and those whom we have sent to school to come and work for you. They went to school with your money and they have to bring back the services to you as a vote of thanks”.
He also encouraged the villagers to invest in agriculture as this will help them to provide food for each other “so that those taking any medication should have food whenever they are in need”.
Dr’NyaneLetsie, Director General of the Ministry of Health, encouraged the workers to become vigilant and work hard to help their people.
“Service provision is a calling, it is not a profit making service,” Letsie says.
Letsie saysthe ministry has embarked on a campaign to decentralise health services and will work with district administrators and councils to achieve an HIV free generation and a healthy nation.

Previous The factory worker
Next Does Brexit undermine the case for African regional integration?

About author

You might also like

Health

Church dogma versus pragmatism

  Rose Moremoholo MASERU SINCE 1968, the Catholic Church has had brawls with secular authorities over the issue of contraceptives, particularly the pill. The Church has ruled that the use

Health

The legacy of Thomas Mofolo

Tsepiso Sesotho is a language full of beautiful proverbs and idioms of expression, and among them is the quintessential: Monna ke ‘mokopu’ oa nama (A man spreads like the tendrils

Health

Keeping HIV at bay

Staff Reporter MASERU When one of the HIV patients under her care failed to report for a routine check-up at the government-run Mokhotlong Hospital, ’Macorina Phakisi, a volunteer with a