Ramatlapeng blasts govt over Covid-19 response

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Limpho Sello

FORMER Health Minister Mphu Ramatlapeng has deplored the poor conditions at the Berea isolation hospital for Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Dr Ramatlapeng this week told the Lesotho Times that the facility lacked adequate equipment and facilities to help patients beat the deadly virus.

She said saw first-hand the poor state of the facility when she visited her sister, Dr Thabelo Ramatlapeng, who has been admitted since Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19.

Dr Thabelo, also known as Malimpho Moleleki, is married to opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki.

Mr Moleleki has also tested positive and he was admitted at the Berea facility yesterday. (See story above).

Earlier in the week, Dr Ramatlapeng told this publication that she had learnt of the poor conditions at the isolation hospital from Ms Moleleki who complained of the extreme cold and lack of hot water for bathing. Ms Moleleki is said to have complained that the sub-standard facilities had made her stay unbearable.

Ms Moleleki is a medical doctor by profession. She is employed at the Health ministry as the director of primary health care.

Incidentally, several Covid-19 positive nurses raised similar complaints about the poor conditions at the facility to the Sunday Express over the weekend.

Commenting on the state of facility, Dr Ramatlapeng said “I had to take an electric kettle, an electric blanket, a bathing basin and heaters to Berea hospital because the conditions there are very poor”.

“This goes to show how ill-prepared we are as a country to respond to this Covid-19 pandemic.

“We cannot be taking people to a place where they can die any minute due to the poor conditions.

“Before I went there, I was informed that there are warm rooms with hot water. But that is a lie, it is not true.

“The government needs to fix the basics. When a person goes to a hospital, they expect to get better services. Doctors and nurses attending to patients must be kitted in protective clothing.”

Dr Ramatlapeng served in the Pakalitha Mosisili government from 1998 to 2012.

Some people have accused her of being a hypocrite, saying as a former minister, she was among those who had neglected the health system.

However, she defended her track record, saying “when I was minister of health, I made sure that 156 clinics across the country and every hospital was refurbished”.

“I made sure that there were generators in case of power outages. I don’t know what has been happening since I left that position,” Dr Ramatlapeng said.

The health ministry’s director for clinical services and head of Covid-19 case management, Dr Lucy Mapota, said they were doing everything in their power to fight the pandemic.

She said their efforts were hampered by the government’s delays in approving their budget to fight the scourge.

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