Finally, village health workers receive their dues



MASERU – Village health workers have started receiving their outstanding payments dating back to June 2022, Public Eye can report. The village heath workers that have been owed for months by the previous government and had lost hope of ever getting paid their dues started receiving their back payments in November last year.

This follows a promise by Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane during his inauguration that he would ensure that village health workers get paid their outstanding allowances within 100 days of him assuming power.  A village health worker and coordinator serving Nazareth health centre, ’Makhauhelo Lenkoe, told Public Eye that they started getting their long-overdue balances in November 2022, when they received their first quarter allowances, which they last got in March 2022. Lenkoe said in November 2022, they received money for two quarters; June and September, while that for the last quarter came in December 2022.

“In January 2023, we got our January allowances, the full amount as we expected and we take this as motivation for us to work harder and improve the work we are trusted to do and to improve our health system in our communities,” she said. When COVID-19 struck, village health workers were identified as frontline workers and recognized early resources in the COVID-19 response. However, to date they have not been given any risk allowance as promised. Another village health worker ‘Mammusi Moea noted that they have not received their risk allowances, further appealing to the new government to fulfil their promises of paying the proposed M2,000.

In an interview with Public Eye, Minister of Health Selibe Mochoboroane said village health workers are already receiving their monthly allowances, and pledged that he is going to ensure that they become permanent personnel within the ministry of health. He said: “I want to make sure that when health professionals of the ministry of health get their monthly salaries, they also get their salaries because they are all health professionals.”

He further promised that he would ensure that their services are paid for accordingly and on time. Mochoboroane said the ministry of health is working on ensuring that village health workers are paid on monthly basis not quarterly. He said to ensure that payments go to employees that are working for the ministry, they are conducting a head count that will help they root out ghost workers.

“We are doing a head count on each village health worker, for us to have a number of village health workers in our systems, so that they are paid monthly like other civil servants,” Mochoboroane  said. He said monthly salaries will go hand in hand with increased responsibilities for village health workers where, among others, they will have to ensure that their HIV and AIDS and TB patients properly adhere to their medication.

He said they must also make sure that every woman visits the nearest health facility to get screened for cancer and other diseases while young girls get vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus. They also have to see to it that men get screened for prostate cancer, which is said to be a leading cause of death in Lesotho. He said going forward, community health workers will be receiving their salaries monthly, so that they easily perform the work that they are trusted to do.

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