THE Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC) says it is failing to fulfil its duties because of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) failure to pay subventions.
LNC is a regulatory body established under the Act of Parliament No.8 of 1966 to regulate Nursing and Midwifery practice and education in the country. LNC derives its mandate from the Nurses and Midwives Act No. 12 of 1998 to: Protect the public against unsafe practices by nurses, midwives and nursing assistants.
LCN also guides its members by ensuring that they adhere to the set standards enshrined in the Nurses and Midwives Act No. 12 of 1998.
LNC Registrar Flavia Poka recently told the media in Maseru that while they work tirelessly to fulfil their mandate, they fail to effectively deliver because they are not getting any funds from the MOH. She said they depend on the council members’ annual subscriptions. The members are student and practicing nurses who pay for registration and renewal annually.
The LNC has been operational for over two decades and currently has one office in Maseru with a staff compliment of six people.
For the LCN’s inspections around the country, the staff has to rely solely on subscriptions which have only managed to fund the purchase of an office site, two vehicles as well as the construction of a foundation for an office container donated by non-governmental organisation Jhpiego.
Ms Poka said although the council works in partnership with its board, the office still needs to grow adding that its development has stagnated due to lack of financial resources.
“Subscriptions are our only source of funds yet we are supposed to get a subvention from the MOH even though it has never come,” Ms Poka said.
“Our collaboration with the ministry has to be enhanced and we must get funding so that we can promote a healthier community.”
Ms Poka said they had to call a press conference to make the public aware of LNC’s mandate and clarify the disciplinary processes and procedures that are followed when nursing personnel misbehaves. She said the public must not hesitate to approach their offices when nurses behave unethically.
“We were providing guidance to the public on how to lodge a complaint on professional misconduct of a nurse, midwife or nursing assistant. We also provided information on the kinds of misconduct that can be reported to LNC,” Ms Poka said.
LNC Professional Conduct committee member Matumelo Tlelima said the LNC provides guidance to the nurses, midwives and nursing assistants to ensure that they render quality nursing care to all the people of Lesotho; irrespective of race, religion, politics or social standing.
“We want to ensure that they are competent to practice and conduct themselves professionally according to the Code of Ethics and professional conduct guiding them,” Ms Tlelima said.
Ms Tlelima said the failure to provide nursing care that is congruent with the set standards of care (unethical practice and practicing beyond the scope of practice) leads to poor nursing care and harm to the health of the public.