Concern over shortage of lab technicians

Concern over shortage of lab technicians

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

THE chairman of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Lesotho (AMLSL), LisemaPhafane,has expressed concern over the critical shortage of lab technicians in Lesotho.
Phafane said lab technicians are critical in providing better medical laboratory services in hospitals.
He made the remarks at the Medical Laboratory Awards in Maseru last Saturday.
He said while there are enough medical laboratories there are not enough technicians to alleviate the workload.
“This makes it difficult to achieve good quality in lab work. We are approximately 400 but to say how many more we will need would require a proper analysis,” Phafane said.
Phafane said medical laboratory scientists are regarded as inferior compared to other health professionals and are paid less than other professionals.
“We therefore advocate for the employment of other members and an increase in salary for all medical lab scientists,” Phafane said.
He appealed to the Deputy Minister of Health LitebohoKompi who was present at the event to ensure that there is distance learning opportunities for health professionals.
He said it is not good that local health schools are offering only diplomas and “we also would love the national reference lab to be turned into an institution of internship so that those that have graduated can be trained before going into the workplace”.
“For a long time the health service workers have been working haphazardly without having a united force to make possible a HIV free generation and we have decided it is time to unite and become a body that can make this possible,” Phafane said.
GetrudeMothibe, a member of the Coalition of Health Society Lesotho, saida few days before the award ceremony an Indian pharmacist asked her why Lesotho was number one in HIV prevalence.
Mothibe said the Indian national asked: “What is wrong with you (people)?” but Mothibe had no quick answer to give to the pharmacist.
However, Mothibe said she realised that the problem lies with health professionals and the entire health workforce who are not working collectively to complement one another.
She said they are working as nurses, doctors, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, receptionists and everyone in health human resource is independent and not in partnership.
“I knew that the answer to defeating the pandemic is in forming a coalition,” Mothibe said.
“We can achieve a lot if we work together,” she said.
Deputy Minister Kompi said when she joined the Health Ministry last year she had no clue as to what working there entails because she was not a health service provider or an expert but now she has learned a lot.
Kompi said “today I know that it is possible to have an HIV-free generation”.
“It is through the coalition that you have talked about that this shall be possible, because we will stop blaming each other for the deaths of people,” Kompi said.
She said the challenges facing health workers including lab technicians were known but that cannot stop health practitioners from doing their work of saving lives.

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