By Gerard Molupe* —

Maseru, Lesotho: Lesotho’s Minister of Health Nkaku Kabi has sent a stern warning to the females who terminate their pregnancies.

Kabi said they have found out that about 10-15 females who do abortion are admitted at Lesotho’s only referral hospital, Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (Tsépong) every day.

He said this strains resources of the hospital as some patients have to sleep down on the floor because there are no enough beds.

The minister said they would invite the police to join them when they go to the hospital so that they could arrest patients who would be found that their cause of illness is abortion.

He said abortion is illegal in Lesotho.

Kabi said this is the right time that they should approach churches in the country so that they should also encourage the use of family planning methods to stop unwanted pregnancy.

And the family planning facilities are not offered at the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) clinics and hospitals.

This CHAL considers as unchristian.

Kabi said at this time around they would have to visit the industrial area to meet factory workers and sensitise them about the family planning methods.

He said this would help curtail the unwanted pregnancies.

Lesotho has a total of 40 000 factory workers most of who are the females.

Meanwhile, the public relations officer of Tsépong ‘Mamothepane Thahane said they also have a challenge of patients who do not use other health facilities in the country but opt to go to their hospital.

She said Tsépong should only be used as the referral hospital not the district hospital.

Thahane said the delivering mothers usually come to the hospital to deliver instead of going to the other health facilities.

Lesotho has one district hospital in each district that all refer their patients to Tsépong.

Tšepong, which was opened in 2011 as the country’s only referral hospital, refers cancer patients to South African hospitals Pelonomi, Univesitus and National hospitals, with government footing the bill.

The hospital is owned by the government but is run by the Tšepong consortium of five companies, namely Netcare Healthcare Group and Afri’nnai of South Africa, as well as Excel Health, Women Investment and D10 Investments from Lesotho.

In the capital city, Maseru, there is no district hospital and the patients treat Tsépong as the one thereby causing stampede.

The government in 2011 closed down Queen Elizabeth II hospital in the city but re- opened it in 2014 offering only limited health services.

The Queen II was used as the Maseru district hospital.

The patients in Lesotho do not pay the medical fees as they are covered by the government.

Tsépong alone takes a whopping 25% of the Ministry of Health budget.

Tšepong health system (Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital and Likotsi, Mabote and Qoaling filter clinics) is responsible for more than 70 percent of all hospital admissions countrywide and 25 percent of all primary care services delivered in Lesotho.

There are 85 doctors permanently employed by Tšepong excluding the interns training at the hospital.

Twenty-six percent of these are specialists duly registered as such by the Lesotho Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Council.

This specialist list excludes visiting specialists in ophthalmology, maxilla facial surgery, maxilla facial prosthodontics, ENT surgery and orthopaedic surgery who visit the hospital on predetermined intervals.

Gerard Molupe is a mid-career investigative journalist based in Lesotho. His beats include a wide variety of topics from Politics, to Agriculture, and Environmental Issues.

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