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Clinic runs out of BP, diabetes meds

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BUTHA-BUTHE -A clinic in Butha-Buthe district has been out of hypertension and sugar diabetes medicines for the past five months.
Linakeng Health Centre, in the rural parts of Butha-Buthe, serves at least 20 000 people from 46 villages and 30 of them are hard to reach.
Hypertension and sugar diabetes are chronic diseases only managed with daily doses of medication. Without them patients can suffer serious complications, some of which are fatal.
The crisis was revealed during a visit to the clinic by Parliament’s Social Cluster Committee last week.
Supported by United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), the committee was on a tour of six health facilities in Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong districts.
At Linakeng Health Centre the MPs came face to face with the horror hypertensive and diabetic patients have been through for the past six months.
“We place orders on time and we have no idea what happens in the supply chain. We need to know where the problem lies,” said Teboho Lebula, the nurse in charge at the clinic, as the MPs quizzed her for answers.

Lebula told the MPs and journalists that they have not received the medication despite submitting several requests through the logistics officer at the District Health Management Team (DHMT).
The logistics officer receives orders from clinics and sends them to the Ministry of Health which them submits them to the National Drug Service Organisation (NDSO), a parastatal with a monopoly to supply medicines to the government.
What started as a routine inquiry soon turned into a blame-game as officials denied culpability.
Lebula told the MPs that she was not sure why they are not getting the medicines.
“We have ordered and reordered a couple of times without help,” she told the seemingly shocked MPs.
Fako Moshoeshoe, chairperson of the committee, then turned to the Health Ministry’s District Management Officer for Butha Buthe, Dr Lebohang Sao, for an explanation.
Dr Sao said she was not aware of the problem but quickly pointed a finger at the clinic’s management and the logistics officer who she accused of sleeping on the job.
Dr Sao said the logistics officer is supposed to make sure that the requests for medication are quickly submitted to the ministry.
She said it is the clinic’s responsibility to manage its stock.

Dr Sao said part of the problem is that the government keeps relying on the NDSO as the sole supplier of medicines. Such a monopoly, she said, makes it difficult for the government to get medicines from other companies.
The trouble, she added, is that clinics are beholden to the NDSO even when it’s not able to deliver on time. Moshoeshoe said the committee too is worried that the NDSO remains a monopoly.
He said they wanted the government to end the monopoly but the NDSO officials resisted despite that the company keeps failing to deliver.
“We need to end this monopoly,” Moshoeshoe said.

The nurse in charge said they had referred diabetic and hypertensive patients to Tsime Clinic, the nearest to health centre, but it too had quickly run out of the medications.
Soon patients were buying from private pharmacies that also reportedly failed to meet the demand.
Dr ‘Makhoase Ranyali, the Ministry of Health’s Head of Family Health, suggested that Lebula reports to the Public Health Nurse at the DHMT if the logistics officer is not doing his work.
Dr Ranyali said it was surprising that Linakeng had gone for five months without the medication because there is a system that allows clinics to borrow medicines from each other.
NDSO General Manager, Matebele Sefali, however dismissed the allegations that they were to blame for the crisis at Linakeng.
“We do our deliveries on time. There is always a problem somewhere in the supply chain but it is not us,” Sefali said in an interview with thepost.
Sefali said part of the problem is the red-tape at the Ministry of Health.
Sometimes there are delays in the supply chain, he added.

He also said most clinics were not submitting their request a week in advance as stipulated in the supply contract between the Ministry and the NDSO.
He said sometimes clinics send their requests on a Friday when their stock runs out on Monday.
“If requisitions are done in time, we deliver on time. There is no pressure whatsoever on our side because we procure enough drugs for all health facilities.”
Sefali said the Ministry of Health’s director of supply chain told him about the situation at Linakeng Health Centre.
Moroke Motuba, the District Logistics Officer, said the problem lies with the clinic because it does not have a system to manage the stock. Motuba said the clinic last ordered hypertension pills in December.

He said there is a “serious need for accountability by the clinic”
Because there are no clear records the clinic’s management cannot keep track of what is urgently required, he said.
The result, he added, is that the clinic submits orders late and sometimes orders supplements instead of essential medicines.
The pills were delivered at the time of print.

Rose Moremoholo

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Police hunt former minister

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THE police have launched a hunt for former police minister, Lepota Sekola, who is suspected of involvement in stock theft.
Police want to arrest Sekola in connection with two cattle carcasses that were found at his grandfather’s funeral in Borokhoaneng three weeks ago.

During the initial interview, Sekola had insisted that the cows belonged to his late grandfather who had kept them in South Africa for better pastures.

The police didn’t arrest him at that time because investigations were still in the early stages. Further investigations have however led the police to believe that the animals were stolen from South Africa.

But when they were ready for the arrest, Sekola could not be found at his home or on his phone.

Police say Sekola will be charged with unlawful possession and illegal importation of two cows from South Africa.

The National Stock Theft Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Mapesela Klaass, told thepost last night that they “have completed investigations but he (Sekola) is nowhere to be seen”.

“We cannot get him on his mobile phones,” S/Supt Klaass said, adding that the police have been “visiting his home but he is not there”.

“His family members are aware that we are looking for him,” he said.

S/Supt Klaass said they are continuing with their search and as soon as they find him, they are going to drag him to the courts.

He said the police suspect the cows were brought from South Africa to be slaughtered for Sekola’s grandfather’s funeral.

Police sources told thepost that one of the cows had new branding while another had nothing. Both had holes on the ears that signalled that they used to have ear tags.

Majara Molupe

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss

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A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.
Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

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Mphaka barred from ABC deputy’s race

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THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has barred former Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and three others from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at an elective conference set for this week.
The three are Kefeletsoe Mojela, Katleho Molelle, and Lekhetho Mosito.

Mosito was an MP who was appointed Defence Minister for a day and removed the following day during Dr Moeketsi Majoro’s premiership.
The elective conference is set to be held at the Leqele High School hall this weekend.

A circular from the ABC said the three did not qualify to enter the race because they had not held any positions in the party’s committees.

The decision to bar the three is reminiscent of the same tactics that saw former leader Thomas Thabane block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the party’s deputy leader’s position.
Professor Mahao subsequently walked away and formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

A weakened ABC has never recovered from that split.

Mphaka and his colleagues were vying for the deputy leader’s position until they were stopped in their tracks by the circular which was issued out on Monday this week.
Dr Pinkie Manamolela is the current deputy leader.

She was plucked from the women’s league to replace Dr Majoro who had resigned from the national executive committee after losing the leadership race to Nkaku Kabi in 2022.

There is a high chance that the four could drag the ABC to court to assert their right to contest. The legal wrangles will likely destabilise the party that is still smarting from a thorough thrashing in general elections held in October 2022.

Mphaka this week told thepost that he will challenge the decision to block him in the courts of law.
“They are crazy people,” Mphaka said.

“I will not allow this to happen,” he said.

“I have already instructed my lawyers to launch an urgent application in the High Court to challenge the decision before Friday this week.”

He complained that it was not clear why the party had decided to kick him out of the race after he spent a lot of time and resources campaigning.

Mphaka said the national executive committee “usually allows members to contest for positions without considering whether they were ever in the constituency committees or not”.

The contenders in the race are former Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, ex-Police MP Lehlohonolo Moramotse, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Leshoboro Mohlajoa, and Maseru Star Taxi Association member Sekhonyana Mosenene.

A member of the national executive committee told thepost that “many of us support Mphaka and Kefeletsoe at all costs”.

“We were dismayed when we saw the circular removing the duo from the race,” he said.

He said many ABC members were rallying behind Mphaka because “he has been campaigning even before everyone could start”.

“They know he has lots of followers.”

He said it is unfair that Mosenene has been allowed to run but he has never held any position in any constituency except that he represented his taxi association in the ABC national executive committee.
“Why has he been allowed to contest yet he is just like Mphaka and Kefeletsoe?”

He complained that Sekhonyana, while representing taxi operators in the committee, was eventually made the deputy party spokesman despite not being in any constituency committee after ’Matebatso Doti resigned from the position.

“Mphaka was chosen by the party to lead the 2022 elections campaign teams and develop a party manifesto,” he said.

“He was allowed to do all that without being involved in any party structures.”

The party’s spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa declined to comment.

Dr Manamolela told thepost that “the decision was not made by the party’s national executive committee”.

“I do not want to talk much …but it is not true that the party’s NEC decided to remove Mphaka and Kefeletsoe”.

Kabi could not be reached for comment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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