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MoH receives specialized medical equipment from UK

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MAFETENG – The United Kingdom (UK) donated specialized high care medical equipment to the Ministry of Health (MoH) last week in Mafeteng.

This M6.5 million worth medical equipment include the pulse oximeters, exhalation ports, breathing filters and the breathing circuits for both lower as well as upper SPAPs.

Handing over the consignment in a ceremony held at Mafeteng Regional Hospital, British High Commissioner to Lesotho, Anne Macro, said they hope the equipment will enhance the work of the health professionals through the pandemic and beyond.

She added that the donation profusely symbolizes the continued partnership between the two nations.

The Commissioner further recognized and thanked the efforts taken by Lesotho health professionals to save lives during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wanted to say thank you and to recognize the work that all health professionals, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, have done over the past two and half years of the [COVID-19] pandemic. It has been a difficult time for everyone, but particularly for health workers who have been on the front line of the battle against this disease,” she said.

She also highlighted that last year, Lesotho received the UK Emergency medical team of health professionals and had partnered with the local health professionals for a month.

Macro said her government continues to support the efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it is one of the biggest donors and had committed £1.4 billion, approximately M28 billion, as a source of defense against the impact of the pandemic and to help curb it “as quickly as possible”.

“The UK has played a key role, through the COVAX Facility, to ensure access to vaccines, wherever they are needed. COVAX has now delivered over 1.4 billion vaccines to 144 countries, mostly low- and lower-middle income countries including Lesotho,” Macro added.

The Minister of Health, Hon. Semano Sekatle, thanked the British government, saying they have “always been with us” from when Tuberculosis (TB) struck, HIV/AIDS caused havoc and even now when “we recover” from COVID-19.

Hon. Sekatle said these critical equipment could not have come at an opportune time as it will see them through the recovery phase.                                                                     

He added that COVID-19 has left the country as well as the ministry “naked” and has exposed them “so much”.

“We are left naked in terms of equipment, personnel, critical skills and health infrastructure, thanks to COVID-19,” the Minister said.

Appreciating the gesture, Mafeteng’s District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr. Mpho Seleke thanked the British government as well as its High Commission in Lesotho.

Dr. Seleke promised that the equipment will be put to good use.

Similarly, the MoH Director-General (DG) Dr. ‘Nyane Letsie expressed her appreciation, to the British government, of this medical equipment.

“I am humbled by these gifts,” Dr. Letsie added.

The DG said the equipment will enable them to manage their critical patients, adding that these specialized care equipment will not “go missing” as it will be utilized by the select few.

Dr Letsie urged health professionals to cascade down their knowledge of critical care patients to be alleviated even before they are referred to secondary hospitals.