Covid-19: nurses demand hospital for health workers
THE Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA) has called on the government and well-wishers to either build or ensure that there is a hospital solely to cater for nurses and other health professionals.
LNA secretary general ‘Mamonica Mokhesi said such a hospital would quickly treat health workers and help end the current situation where nurses and other health professionals have to line up alongside ordinary members of the public for treatment at health facilities.
Ms Mokhesi said it was important to give the health workers first preference when it came to health services to enable them to quickly get back to the pressing frontline work of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Nurses constitute about 76 percent of Lesotho’s health workers and their health must therefore be prioritised to save the health system from collapse,” Ms Mokhesi said.
“What the LNA is pushing for is to keep the health professionals alive and relieve the health care system by establishing a hospital specifically for health professionals.
“If health professionals continue dying of Covid-19 as has been the case of late, nobody will be left to take care of patients. They should have a hospital specifically catering for them so that after treatment they can quickly get back to their work of fighting the pandemic.”
Ms Mokhesi said they had already presented their proposal to different stakeholders and the indications were that there was support for the idea.
“We need the hospital to be operational as soon as possible to save lives. We have been offered a place from which the hospital can be operate. However, we now need the equipment and furniture for the project. We therefore, call on all well-wishers to step in and assist.
“This is not about the luxury of our members but for the wellbeing of all people because we will continue losing lives if nurses and other health professionals are incapacitated and spend more time competing with ordinary patients to be treated in the existing health facilities.
“Public hospitals are overwhelmed and they are also catering for ailing nurses. Who is going to treat the patients if nurses and other health professionals do not get the support they require to quickly recover and perform their tasks?”
Ms Mokhesi said five nurses had died of Covid-19 to date and more could soon die due to the soaring infections.
She also bemoaned the shortages of essential medical equipment such oxygen, personal protective equipment (PPE) and running water at health facilities, saying more, otherwise preventable deaths could occur if these issues are not urgently addressed.
She also said nurses were also overwhelmed due to staff shortages and this could result in fatigue and fatal mistakes on their part if not addressed.
“At one point, Berea Hospital only had two nurses taking care of 50 Covid-19 patients. At the time, 20 patients were said to be in a critical condition, so you can imagine the pressure on the nurses. They are prone to making errors in such situations.
“Some public health facilities lack PPE and running water. There is also a shortage of other resources like oxygen in the hospitals. One of our members had to be transferred from Motebang Hospital to Mamohau Hospital because of lack of oxygen at Motebang,” Ms Mokhesi said, adding this needed to be urgently addressed.