Private doctors roped in to help deliver quality health-care

Private doctors roped in to help deliver quality health-care

 

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

THE Ministry of Health last Wednesday signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Independent Practitioners Association (IPA) in an attempt to improve health services in Lesotho.

The IPA is a group of Basotho private doctors.

Under the agreement, the private doctors will work in government hospitals and clinics in a move that will likely improve health delivery services.

Dr ’Nyane Letsie, the Director General in the Ministry of Health, said their aim is to “broaden health services in all districts”.

“This is because as a country we are entitled to broaden services and that we need to reserve the doctors we have and make them useful in our communities,” Dr Letsie said.

Dr Thabelo Ramatlapeng, the Director of Primary Health Care, said a lot of private doctors are willing to work with the government in this initiative.

“It is at this juncture that we are giving an opportunity to such doctors to know that it is possible (to work with the government),” Ramatlapeng said.

The IPA was well aware that most of the doctors working in the government hospitals are foreign doctors.

“We are happy that this is finally happening. We are here to stay because this is our home even for any mistake that will happen in the health sector we will be accountable for that,” Dr Thabiso Kolobe, the IPA vice-president, said.

Kolobe said it is a great opportunity for them as private doctors to reach a larger section of the society.

“Now that we have partnered with the government, we will be able to reach a bigger region and give services to the nation,” he said.

“We are still hoping to see more doctors register with the association.”

The IPA was established in 2014 in a bid to bring Basotho doctors together.

“When doctors are being trained they are sponsored by the taxes of the nation and by so doing the government’s expectation is for the country to have the best health services,” Health Minister ’Molotsi Monyamane said.

The minister said that these extra hands will help the government health sector to give effective services to the community.

“There are a lot of patients that need to be helped and through this relationship, we can share the workload with the private doctors,” he said.

Monyamane said the most important thing is that everyone who is willing to offer health services is welcome to sell such services to the government just as Baylor, church clinics, Red Cross and others do.

“We cry out for more hands and hearts of Basotho people to help us, the nurses we already work with are good but they need support from doctors,” he said.

“We already have a shortage of doctors in the country and signing an agreement with private doctors will make the work easier,” Monyamane said.

The IPA doctors are already working in the textile factories to provide HIV /AIDS counselling.

Factory workers are offered the opportunity to receive any kind of medical help from the same doctors. The programme began in 2006.

“The government  will be paying for the services offered by the private doctors but this will only be a subsidy for what they will be providing just as they will be subsidizing on helping the ministry with their own nurses, medication and general services,” Letsie said.

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