THE Ministry of Health recently introduced a mobile clinic to enable vendors at the Maseru Bus Stop area to access free and efficient health services.
Health minister Nkaku Kabi, who officially opened the mobile clinic, urged the public including the vendors and taxi drivers to seek medical assistance to avoid preventable deaths.
He said street vendors and taxi drivers ended up compromising their health due to their busy schedule which prevented them from timeously seek medical services whenever they fell ill.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) and Population Services International (PSI) will work together to provide HIV/AIDS services at the clinic including testing, counseling and support services for clients.
Other services provided by the clinic include screening for tuberculosis and testing and treatment of sexual transmitted infections (STIs).
Mr Kabi said his ministry had collaborated with other organisations to establish the mobile clinic as part of efforts of ensuring universal health coverage to all segments of the population.
“We attend funerals every weekend just because people do not seek health services,” Mr Kabi said.
“With this new (mobile clinic) service, we hope there will be not be any more reasons for unnecessary deaths. Let us make sure that we screen for cancer and HIV to save lives.”
He further said his ministry’s aim was to have mobile clinics at bus stops and taxi ranks countrywide.
On his part, the chairperson of the Maseru street vendors, Molefi Paneng, expressed gratitude to the Thomas Thabane-led government for prioritising their health. Mr Paneng said it was heartening that government officials did not just visit them during election campaign periods to solicit for their votes.
“Normally politicians only think of us when they need to use us and afterwards they never bother to come back. So with this visit (by Minister Kabi) we feel very important.
“Previous governments only remembered us during election campaign periods where they came to ask for our votes. Thereafter, they would leave us to suffer but this time around we are happy to see our minister (Kabi) has come not to ask for anything but to provide health services and ask us to look after our health,” Mr Paneng said.
He said it was his fervent hope that the mobile clinic would contribute to the good health of the vendors and he encouraged them to seek medical services now that the clinic had been brought to their doorstep.
“We will no longer stand in long lines and hopefully the nurses will work harmoniously with us bearing in mind that we need to get back to work and make money,” Mr Paneng said.