By Thoboloko Ntšonyane
MASERU- The unresolved dispute between the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Doctors has caused the latter to be in a seemingly unyielding position.
Both sides grapple for resolution and it has not been reached by both parties resulting in a persisting impasse.
The Doctors demand reinstatement of the three suspended counterparts and payments of outstanding call allowances.
The President for the Lesotho Medical Association (LMA), Dr Mojakisane Ramafikeng said until their members have been reinstated and their dismissal letters withdrawn they will not go back to work.
In a strongly worded letter statement last week, the LMA said the suspension of Doctors “is meant to marginalize and intimidate doctors”.
“We regret that the MOH has let this dispute go this far and seem to be content in muddying it further. It should also be highlighted that [the] Ministry of Health is solely responsible for the current crumble in [the] Health sector by continuing to disregard the lives of Basotho while ignoring the constitutional mandate set [forth] for [their] position.
“Doctors have always been clear, MOH must pay Doctors what is owed to them as per the court order. These intimidation tactics shall not work,” reads the statement.
The statement said the Doctors will not be working in outpatient departments.
Dr Ramafikeng called out the MoH of defying a court order that was made in 2019 wherein they were ordered to pay the Doctors.
Meanwhile the MoH said processes are underway to settle the outstanding call allowances for the Doctors.
Also on Sunday evening, the Director-General (DG) Dr ‘Nyane Letsie said Doctors provide essential services and have no duty to embark on a stay away, instead they should petition court for the recourse. Reacting to this, the LMA’s President showed that court processes are expensive and they cannot be able to afford them unless paid by the Ministry.
Informative understands that yesterday there was a meeting following the intervention by the Coalition of Health Professionals, between the Doctors and the MoH, the meeting which was meant to bring solution to these disputes.
The meeting however was not successful as they did not come to terms because the MoH wanted the suspended Doctors to apologize but the Doctors on the other hand pushed back saying those suspension letters should be withdrawn.
Dr Ramafikeng said at that meeting, the Accountant General was called and promised that the arrears will be settled on Monday. As it stands, the Doctors are not taking the calls until their allowances have been settled.
This publication approached the DG for comment on this matter, and she said she was unable to talk as she was in the meeting.