Health ministry pleads with restive doctors



MASERU – The ministry of health is pleading with the Lesotho Medical Association (LMA) to withdraw their letter instructing members to stop working overtime due to the ministry’s health failure to pay money owed to doctors for call allowances.  In an interview this week, the association’s public relations officer, Dr. Senekale Senekale, said they had an urgent meeting with the minister on Wednesday this week who requested the association to continue with their duties, while the ministry continues to sort out their concerns.

Senekale added that the ministry promised to pay the remaining members by today. He said: “We were told that from the ministry’s statistics, a number of our members have already been paid and they are only left with a few, of which by Friday (today) they would all have received their monies.” He said the ministry also told them that they have done everything to ensure that they get their money, but they are waiting for the ministry of finance to complete their statements.

However, the association planned to meet with members on Wednesday night to plan their way forward and discuss steps to be taken, following the meeting with the ministry. The doctors embarked on this struggle in March 2023, after the ministry of health failed to pay their call allowances that have been outstanding since 2019.

However, the strike was suspended on September 20, following various talks and agreement reached between the association and the ministry. The agreement stated that the ministry of health would pay outstanding call allowance claims for all the doctors before December 1, 2023. They had also agreed that doctors should resume call duties from October 1 and the ministry will pay for those calls at the end of November, together with November salaries.

Sadly, according to the association, the ministry did not uphold either of the agreements leaving the association and its members with no option but to stop calls with immediate effect, pending payments of call allowance to all doctors owed by the ministry. As a result, the association made aware the general public that they did everything in their power to meet the ministry of health halfway but, unfortunately, a huge number of doctors still remain unpaid including the 2023 October call allowance despite promises that they would have been paid all the money they are owed.

LMA calls on the government through the ministry of health to put all its resources into solving this matter of national importance, as Basotho are in need of health services after regular working hours.

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