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Royal treatment in Machache



…..Pregnant women say being treated with absolute honour….

NAZARETH – ’MAMOTLATSI Maine has a hospital job title very few people would be familiar with: a doula.
But the women who have been through her hands know all about her tender care and what it takes to be a doula.
A doula, according to respected health website WebMd, is a person who provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth.
“Whatever they need and want from me I offer it to them,” she tells thepost, her face beaming.

The 42-year-old’s services are what most people would expect to find at an institution frequented by Lesotho’s rich and famous.
Often, pregnant rural women migrate to towns and cities for better care. But one rural institution is changing all that with a service that is out of this world – at least the world of Basotho hospitals.

Care for massages, musical therapy, water therapy, incense therapy and tender loving care? Then Machache Mountain in Nazareth, about 30 kilometres south-east of Maseru might just be the place for you.
Located in a rural area, the clinic is turning the tide.
Services that those in urban areas can only dream of are a daily routine at this rural post situated on the foot of Machache Mountain in Nazareth.

Some women are leaving the capital, Maseru, which boasts of the state-of-the-art Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital and its three filter clinics to go to rural Nazareth.
They trek from as far as Teya-Teyaneng and Mohale’s Hoek, both which have state-run hospitals.
Pregnancy is treated with absolute honour and world class value at the Nazareth Clinic.
For nurses and other professionals working here, this is more than just a job.
“It is a service that we were called to do,” says Mantuta Thelingoane, the nurse-in-charge at the clinic.

Above all this, the clinic boasts of Maine, the much loved doula.
Maine has been Nazareth’s doula for almost a year and her face brightens as she talks to thepost about her work.
“I am a servant at heart and if God has called me to do this work, I will do it with all joy and enthusiasm,” she says.

She was a village health worker when she was called into the service at the clinic in March 2018.
“I love working for the clinic. I am passionate about health,” she says.
Maine’s job is to massage pregnant women admitted in the hospital’s waiting rooms. Also, she teaches them relaxation and breathing techniques they need when they get into labour and educate them about labour and delivery processes.

“If one of them tells me that their back aches, I rush to their service, if another tells me they need to be massaged with cold water, I run to get the cold water,” she says.
Maine says the job may seem arduous; especially that she has to deal with pregnant women who are known to be very demanding “because they too do not know what they need”.
But for her, it is a dream job.

“All of this requires patience and humility because the moment you understand that you are a servant to all of them, and you have promised that you will serve them, (then you) do that and not complain.”
Maine plays several games a week with her team of pregnant women to help them exercise and loosen up their muscles for when labour comes.

Meeting her, one cannot help but accept that her accommodating nature is just what the doctor ordered for this job.
She had just left the clinic after a hectic day when thepost arrived at the institution. Yet, she had no qualms returning with a cheerful face when her bosses “summoned” her for the interview.
It is nothing new, she says.
“They sometimes call me while I am home resting, asking that I come assist a woman in labour, take her through the pain.”

During labour, she encourages the mother-to-be to not be weary but stay strong for the baby.
She stays by her side until the baby is born.
After the birth, Maine stays to teach the new mother how to latch the baby onto the breast for breastfeeding and how to take care of the wounds she might have had during labour.
Maine is currently undergoing training offered by nurses at the hospital.

“She is the person we identified as one of our best VHW (village health workers) who can do this job wholeheartedly,” Thelingoane the nurse-in-charge says.
“Her character is just too amazing,” she says.
Maine’s job is supported through a Ministry of Health project the clinic won in July last year, called the Performance Based Funding (PBF).

The clinic serves 29 121 people from 63 villages but people from outside Nazareth have started coming to the clinic to deliver their babies because of the exceptional services it provides.
One of the Facebook page “Batsoetse le Bakhachane: Bo-’m’a” (Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers) group members praised the maternity services provided by the clinic.
One member even describes it as one of the best hospitals in the country.

The winner of the PBF needs to be a clinic that offers the best quality services providers to patients and an increase in the number of deliveries per clinic.
In the months of October to December last year, the clinic delivered 85 babies while in January to March this year it delivered 106 babies.

“This is a drastic change and an increase to be reckoned with,” Thelingoane says.
“We are delighted therefore because we can see that the small changes and incentives we give to our patients are well appreciated,” she says.
She says some women across the country choose to give birth at home because they cannot afford to buy new clothes for their new born babies and fear being mocked or shouted at by nurses.
To change this perception, the clinic buys clothes for new babies.
“This is to fix the bad image there is in public health services,” she says. “It is high time we treat our patients the way they deserve to be treated.”

She says they are also aware that some really travel long distances to get to a health facility and the waiting rooms are a benefit to them.
“We feed them and provide heat in the cold. At times we provide transport money for them to return home,” she says.
“We want them to know that they are worth it. We believe this treatment was offered by our mother Florence Nightingale and we want to demonstrate the same love.”

Thelingoane says at Nazareth Health Clinic, patients are allowed to express themselves as they see fit.
“This is midwifery. Being compassionate, patient, loving, empathetic and tough when need be and very caring. If we can care for a pregnant woman in labour we can create a healthy nation,” Thelingoane says.
The clinic has three midwives and has not recorded any maternal or infant mortality cases.
For any country, midwives are a cornerstone of the health sector.

Lesotho, together with the rest of the world, celebrated midwifery day on Sunday under the theme “Midwives: Defenders of Women’s Rights”.
The World Health Organisation, several UN agencies and other international bodies have identified midwives as the key in reducing maternal deaths and disabilities globally.

According to United Nations Populations Fund, there has been a reduction of maternal deaths from 1 055 per 100 000 lives births to 1 024 per 100 000 live births in Lesotho.
The reduction in maternal deaths can be attributed to, among other things, the good work done by midwives.
Lesotho also has increased the number of skilled birth attendants from 55 percent to 78 percent while facility based delivery has increased from 52 percent to 77 percent.

At Machache Mountain, women in the maternity waiting rooms gushed about the quality care they are receiving.
One of them who is expecting her second child says her experience at the hospital is vastly different from the treatment she received at a hospital where she gave birth to her first born child.
“Nurses at that hospital shouted at us all the time. They ill-treated us so much that I told myself that death was a better choice than to deliver a baby there,” she says.

Another was full of praises.
“We are treated like queens. We squeak and a doula is here and we cry and a nurse is by our bedside,” she says.
“I will go to labour without fear at all. This is world class treatment.”

Rose Moremoholo


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Lesotho’s own brandy



ROMA-“Go, eat your food with rejoicing, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for already the true God has found pleasure in your works,” so says the Big Book.

Driven by that divine, Mohapi Pule has gone a step further – by coming up with a new type of brandy – to make you merry.
The brandy, Mountain Spels Brandy, will make the heart of the dying man rejoice.
“The healthy nutrients in fruits that make brandy, end up in you when you drink it,” he said.

Pule studied nutrition at the National University of Lesotho.
His brandy is made by fermenting fruits into wine. The wine is then distilled into a brandy. It carries the flavour and the aroma of the original fruits.

The story began when Pule was born in Quthing, Mphaki. He was born to a hardworking mother who brew traditional beer like no other.
“She brew beer well before I was born. She is still making it to this day,” he said.

His passion for brewing was probably “born” even before he was born. Mothers have a hidden way of passing not just their looks but their passions to their children.

As he grew up, he found that he was still intertwined with his mom’s brewing business in one way or another.
“Mostly, I am expected to fetch water for the brewing process. That, I still do to this day when I visit home,” he says.
Two decades later, Pule found himself in the Roma Valley, doing BSc in Nutrition.

“At some point, I found that I had lost purpose in life. There was not a thing that I could say, well, I was passionate about this thing or that thing.”
That situation, of course, threw him into some serious soul-searching.
It brought him back to his roots.

“During this period, I recalled that when I was younger, I used to imagine helping my mom do the packaging of the beer she was making and helping distribute it countrywide,” he said.

From a young age, the issue of subsistence business didn’t appeal to him. But that imagination came and passed. Now here he was, worried that he might not amount to anything in life.

Then, boom! An idea came!
What if he produced an alcoholic drink?

He could have thought about anything to do as a business but, lo and behold! He thought about his mother’s passion!

One of the things he loves about alcoholic beverages is that they are popular.

“I haven’t seen products as popular as alcoholic drinks,” he said.
He might be wrong or right but the reality is, the rest of the world has for generations found delight in alcoholic beverages – some to the extent of overdoing it to their injury!

“Mabele khunoana ralitlhaku thabisa lihoho. Mabele u tsoa kae e le khale re u batla re sa u thole? Ueeeena mabeeeele!” (Loosely translated beer brewed from sorghum make men happy. We’ve been looking for you from afar, you sorghum. In short, this is a praise poem for the Sesotho sorghum brew).
But then came the most difficult part. Which specific beverages should he focus on and how would he do it?

He decided that he would focus on ciders. He realised that not many people in Lesotho were making ciders.

He started experimenting at home and realized how difficult the process was. He just couldn’t get it right. To worsen matters, he also did not have the right equipment.

But like most successful innovators, he just knew that he had to start his business right away.

Pule says he then learnt about other forms of beverages: the spirits. Spirits are very high in alcohol content. Here we are talking the likes of whiskey, vodka and brandy.

He was particularly interested in vodka. He went into one NUL laboratory and, with necessary permission, began testing a number of spirits and doing a lot of research about them.

He began saving some of the money he earned from the National Manpower Development Secretariat in the form of student allowance so he could buy equipment. Saving was not easy. The subsistence money was already not that much. Having to share it with a business was asking a little too much.

But Pule was so determined that he did it, bought equipment that allowed him to develop what he thought was “vodka”.

However, after buying the equipment he immediately realised that the equipment was to make brandy not vodka.

“Now I was forced to get into brandy by chance,” he said.
It was a mistake that he has never regretted having realised that there are very few individuals who were making brandy in Lesotho.

Pule had to throw himself fully into experiments. He read books about brandy production. He even enrolled for an online course on distillation.
In the end, he began to see some light.

“I began to feel some difference in the taste of my produce,” he said. “When I shared my produce with my lecturers, they were over the moon!”
With that encouragement, Pule began packaging his brandy and is now selling it to family and friends.

“My small equipment means that I can’t produce much. However, If I were to get bigger equipment, things would be much better.”

Own Correspondent

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Ready-to-cook vegetables



ROMA – ’MATUMANE Matela, a National University of Lesotho (NUL)-trained nutritionist, is an example of how a nutritionist should think and act.
Matela makes and sells ready-to-cook vegetables out of produce from her own farm or produce she preferably buys from local farms.
“When I make a dish, as a nutritionist, I make choices that ensure a typical package is packed with nutrition,” Matela said.

Today, we examine an interesting story of the lady who is determined to ensure that you eat healthy despite your busy schedule.
It started with her experiences in life.
She describes herself as an extremely busy woman.
She likes getting things done.
As the busy amongst us will say, the busier you become, the less you watch your diet.
She couldn’t escape the trap!

“My busy schedule meant that I ended up eating junk and I was gaining weight,” she said.
With time, she came to her senses.
As a nutritionist, she recalled that the best way to preach was to preach by example.
So, was she preaching what she practised?
Clearly, she wasn’t.
She had to find an option to maintain the busy schedule and eat healthy at the same time.

The beautiful thing about nutrition is that the healthiest foods are the closest to us: fruits and vegetables.
Some scientists even claim that our bodies seem to be designed to thrive on fruits and vegetables.
“Have you ever wondered why looking at a ripe raw peach on a tree is mouth-watering but looking at a fat cow isn’t?” asked one scientist.
Well, whether we were designed for fruits and vegetables or not, the truth is that they are good for our bodies.
That’s what good science tells us.

And we somehow “know it” too if you have heard about anything called intuition.
So one day she found herself increasingly eating fruits and vegetables.
It’s easier to change a religion than a diet, they say.
So it is commendable that she changed her diet at all.
“The idea was to chop as much vegetables as possible and put them in a fridge so that in future, I will just pull them out and cook.”
She wasn’t proposing something new.
Who amongst us doesn’t enjoy the convenience of just pulling up chopped frozen vegetables and cooking?

Little did she know that what she was doing was putting her on a path to a brilliant business.
It took a post on a social media to achieve just that.
“I took a pic of the chopped and packaged vegetables and posted them on my social media account. The reaction was swift. I began getting questions like, “how much?””
It immediately dawned on her that she could be sitting on a great business idea, after all.

So she gave it a try and started selling.
To her surprise, people started buying.
In fact, “I get orders for my products almost on a daily basis.”
That is how interested people really are.
This to an extent that her business now gets up to four irregular employees, she included, when the demand is high.
She said her training in Agriculture, Home Economics and Nutrition has helped her to give a thought into what she was doing.

For instance, where possible, she grows her own crops and sells them as first preference.
She has grown spinach, butternut, green pepper, onion, herbs and beans.
She is also in the process of renting more fields to grow more vegetables.
Then she empowers Basotho producers by requesting them to supply.
Going for foreign produce is the last resort.
Look at her packages and you realise something.
The “7 colours” proverb comes alive.

Those seven colours (several colours actually) may have been designed to appeal to your eyes but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The colours of vegetables mean a lot in terms of nutrition.
Each colour gives you something different.
So, the more colours in one meal, the merrier.
To drive this home, let’s go a scientific route for a second.
Red, Blue and Purple: These vegetables contain substances that are good at reducing the risk of stroke, cancer and memory problems.
White: The likes of onion or garlic may help lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and heart disease.

Orange and Yellow: Carrots immediately come to mind.
These vegetables contain substances called carotenoids which may help improve your immune system and help to improve the health of your eyes.
Basotho, it would appear, have long known a thing or two about the relationship between carrots and eyes.
Hence the famous saying, “o jele lihoete” (they ate carrots), often applied to good sportsmen or women with symbolically “good eyesight”.

Green: Green is life. Green vegetables come packed with chlorophyll, a chemical that scientists believe can boost your immune system, eliminate fungus in your body, clean your blood, lead to healthy intestines and give you boundless energy.
As a bonus, her Home Economics background is such that she is armed with a host of recipes for each of the packages she sells.
She has great dreams for the future.
“I want to see my products decorating the shelves of big supermarkets,” she said.
It’s time!

Own Correspondent

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A new, co-operative chain store



ROMA – ’MAKUENA Lesiea is spearheading the creation of a cooperative chain store that will sell Lesotho products only.
The store is being developed under the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub and it will be incubated by the Hub.
“Have you seen it? Basotho are producing like never before,” Lesiea said.
“However, their products are hard to see in the markets. We want to change all that.”

The store, she said, will open branches in all districts of Lesotho, starting from Maseru.
Visit any supermarket in Lesotho and check the products on the shelves.
You will be shocked to realise that, in general, just one percent of them are made in Lesotho.
The other 99 percent comes from elsewhere.
Is it because Basotho are not producing or can’t produce at all?

“Having worked directly with the NUL Innovation Hub and the Tsa Mahlale TV programme under the Hub, I have travelled the depth and breadth of Lesotho and I was amazed at the amount of work Basotho are doing,” she said.
What is the problem?
Basotho products are not given sufficient platforms to prove themselves.
“Credit where it is due, some shops are beginning to accept and sell Basotho products,” she said.

“However, they are barely making a dent because Basotho products, being at their infancy, cannot receive full attention unless by a store that is designed to give them full attention.”
Such a store doesn’t exist.

She said the idea is not to compete with any of the existing stores because “we are getting into a new territory altogether, we are addressing a different market”.
So listen to Lesiea as she presents some features of the store that will surely persuade you to join the bandwagon:

  1. Customer and producer confidence: The store, she said, will achieve two things.
    First, when they see masses of Lesotho-made products in one place, Basotho customers will slowly grow confidence in them.
    The confidence will shoot to the roof when the customers experience that many of the products made in Lesotho are already way ahead of foreign competitors in terms of quality.
    Secondly, the store will give Basotho producers an assurance that their products have, at least, one store that is willing to take them, dark or blue.
    More production will come from such assurance.
  2. Selling “everything”: The store will sell everything from fruits and vegetables to processed foodstuffs to clothing and building materials (if Thabure car will be in production by then, it will be on the shelves too).
    “Suppose what we want to sell is not locally made, we will never cross the border, any border, to find its equivalence. We will encourage Basotho to produce it until they do.”
  3. We mean business: whereas Basotho are beginning to produce, their products are still all over the place.
    You bump across them in some few willing stores, in expos and trade shows, or as being sold by individual resellers. Those are good efforts, but they are not enough. In fact, many in Lesotho have come to see producing and selling as being more of an art, a hobby, a therapy or a hustling than a business, “so we are seriously moving away from such a casual approach, we mean business this time around.”
  4. Ownership: So when you enter this store, you could be purchasing a product made by you in a store owned by you. What a difference!
  5. Reasonable standards: the store will only demand reasonable standards. As a struggling Mosotho, try taking your products to some of the local shops and you are, at worst, turned away without reason or, at best, given a long list of standards you must meet before they can take your product.
    “In our case, as long as your products are reasonably of good quality, you are in. NUL Innovation Hub is already testing many Basotho products. We won’t ignore quality, but we won’t use it as a way to prevent Basotho products from growing either.”
  6. A cooperative chainstore: From contributing as little as M50 per month, members will use a continuous financing model to ensure that the store doesn’t just end in Maseru but reaches the ten districts of Lesotho.
    Each branch will start at a medium scale in order to grow along with Basotho products. We won’t ask for investors to come from anywhere, “we will be investors ourselves.”
  7. An export launch pad. “We are often told to export our produce. The obvious question is, if you haven’t convinced your own people to consume your own products, how can you convince people in other lands to do so? Why should they take you seriously?”
    However, the store is not meant to be a local store forever.
    It will be a means by which we export our products to other countries in the future.
    When we export the store to Soweto, we export it along with products from Lesotho.
    Don’t say no because we have seen Chinese shops and Indian shops and, of course, South African shops, filled to the brim with Chinese products and Indian products and South African products in many countries.
    “If they can do it,” Lesiea ended, “so can we.”
    “Because if it is there in some of us, it is there in all of us.”

Own Correspondent

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