Health workers win PPEs case

Health workers win PPEs case

MASERU-THE Constitutional Court has ordered the government to provide all health workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and pay doctors’ their call allowances.

A coram of three judges made up of Justices Teboho Mokhesi, Tšeliso Monaphathi and Semapo Peete ruled that it was unconstitutional for the government to fail to provide PPEs to health professionals.
They also declared that it is unconstitutional for the government to suspend payment of call allowances for doctors.

The court ordered Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo, his principal secretary Thebe Mokoatle and Finance Minister Thabo Sofonea “to comply with their constitutional obligations…within a reasonable time”.
The case followed healthcare professionals’ complaints against the government that it was turning a blind eye to their plight in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The health workers had earlier threatened that they would down tools unless their demands were met. They said they would attend to emergency cases only which did not involve any suspected cases of Covid-19.
To press the government to address their concerns, the health workers who include doctors and nurses embarked on a go-slow in all government-owned health facilities across the country.

They threatened that they would not resume normal services until the government provided them with protective clothing to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many hospitals started turning away patients.
The health workers were represented by the Coalition of Health Practitioners, which met the then Deputy Minister of Health, ’Manthabiseng Phohleli, and the Director of Disease Control, Doctor ’Makhoase Ranyali on March 27.

The coalition requested the government to capacitate health care professionals with training and equipment to fight Covid-19.

It wanted “all health care practitioners who will acquire Covid-19 while rendering health services to be paid full salaries until they recover”.
They also wanted the government to provide adequate protective gear in both public and private sector health centres.

They also wanted to be consulted on major decisions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic because, “we are at the grassroots level, we know what the people need and we know who to approach and who we can use in health care support”.

Five new positive cases of Covid-19 were reported this week bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Lesotho to 17.

Most of the cases are of people who have had a travel history to South Africa which has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 2 100 people have died of Covid-19 in South Africa.

Staff Reporter

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