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Nurses get paid

Ntsoaki Motaung

Nurses working on the frontline of the fight againts Covid-19 across the country have started receiving their risk allowance Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA) President Rafaele Tlali disclosed.

This come after the association bundled their grievances to the government on Tuesday; among their heap of protests, Tlali mentioned the primary concern was payments of 147 Covid19 nurses which were hired in April 30. He said 40 of those were paid on Wednesday, while the remaining 107 was expected to be paid yesterday.     

“Yesterday (Wednesday) we met with the government and enlisted our complaints, bulletin by bulletin of what we expect from the government. We classified our complaints into the long and short terms as grumbles would take long to be resolved,” he said.

“The long term issued which included shortage of electricity, water and human resource issues are yet to be examined. Among the short term grievances, we discussed the salaries of Covid-19 hired nurses,” he said.

“We ensured the government that there is no turning back, the allowances had to be paid. Where the Principal Secretary Cabinet LefuManyokoleguaranteed that they will review our grievances and get back to us,” he said. 

“We are excited because immediately after the meeting; 40 of the Covid19 nurses were already receiving their risk allowances. We are expecting that by the end of this day the remaining group will have received theirs too,” he said.

He also revealed that the Subvention money to the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) also clicked on the same day.

“The subventions to CHAL clinics were alsopaid yesterday and we confirmed,” he said.

On Tuesday when the association tendered their petition to the government, the LNA Public Relations Officer (PRO)BasaQhalasaid Coronavirus (Covid-19) has worsened their livelihoods as health workers hence they have decided to give Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s administration an ultimatum to address their complaints before they take other measures.

“Today (Wednesday) we gave government our petition, we are expecting them to heed our pleas within seven working days; if they decide not listen, our members will take a decision on the way forward,” he said, adding that theirs as a committee is to take a mandate from nurses.

When asked about whether they’ll embark on industrial action, he was hesitant to furnish this paper with an answer.

The association’s president, Raphael Tlali on the other hand told this paper that their petition was received by Minister in the Prime Minister Office, KemisoMosenene and Principal Secretary Cabinet, LefuManyokole.

Meanwhile, LNA and Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) last week released a statement in which they lashed out at government over what they term “deplorable working conditions”.

LNA and TRC visited 129 health centres two week to observe working conditions of healthcare professionals.

“It has been accepted as the order of the day in the nursing fraternity that nurses who demand respect for their rights are either dismissed from work through trumped up charges or are unjustly transferred to hard to reach centres.

“Despite the fact that nurses often go beyond the call of duty which sometimes exposes them to fatal risks, including attending to Covid-19 suspects within the villages without proper PPE (Personal Productive Equipment); they have no risk allowance,” it reads.

It continues: “(The) majority of healthcare centres are understaffed…as a result they (nurses) work long hours during the day, and subsequently are expected to be on call for the night.

“In some extreme cases, their annual leaves have been banned in some health centres. Nevertheless, they are still expected to perform their duties with due diligence…despite the fact that these long working hours compromise nurses’ ability to render efficient care.” 

The statement further reiterates the nurses’ stance in which they are concerned in delaying of their salaries especially by facilities run by Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL)

 “This is caused by the fact that government delays to disburse subventions to facilities owned by CHAL, leading to delayed salaries, which impinges negatively on the livelihoods of healthcare workers,” the statement reads. 

TRC and LNA further noted the misconduct of facility managers where they are singled out as “perpetrators of maladministration”.

“We have learnt of grave allegations around embezzlements of money at certain health centres where funds were misdirected selfishly by senior nurses,” it reads, adding, “We have also discovered of incidences where junior nurses are persecuted for raising their dissenting voices against the maladministration.”

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