Home NewsLocal News Chinese doctors a positive blessing: Mochoboroane 

Chinese doctors a positive blessing: Mochoboroane 

by Lesotho Times
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…as new Chinese medical team arrives 

…while three more China-funded projects are in the pipeline 

Mohloai Mpesi 

THE medical specialists which China has been sending to Lesotho from 1997 have greatly and positively impacted on Lesotho’s health delivery system, Health Minister Selibe Mochoboroane has said. 

This was attested to by the commendable efforts of the 17th batch of these medical experts during their one-year deployment in Lesotho. 

From April 2023 to end of March this year, the 17th medical team attended to 12 739 outpatients and emergencies. About 915 of these were hospitalised, 745 underwent operations, 76 were critically ill patients and 4 016 were treated to the traditional Chinese medicine; acupuncture. X -ray examinations were conducted on another 1 559. 

The figures were disclosed at the farewell ceremony of the 17th batch of the Chinese medical team which comprised of eight doctors. The ceremony, at the Chinese Embassy in Maseru last Thursday, also served to welcome the 18th cohort of nine doctors to Lesotho. 

The outgoing medical team was primarily stationed at Motebang Government Hospital in Leribe, but it also performed outreach programmes in remote areas of the country.   

Apart from Mr Mochoboroane, the event was graced by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thabang Lekhela, Senior Private Secretary (PSP) to the Prime Minister Moleboheng Sefali, Deputy Principal Secretary Ministry of Health ‘Matṧoanelo Monyobi and Prime Minister’s Press Attache Thapelo Mabote among others. 

As per the agreement between the governments of China and Lesotho, China has thus far sent 18 batches of medical doctors to Lesotho since 1997. 

According to the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Lei Kezhong, over 180 doctors from China’s Hubei Province have come to Lesotho to provide medical and healthcare services. 

The outgoing 17th medical team set a new record by completing 13 operations in a day. 

The new medical team will be serving at the new Maseru District Hospital which is due to be officially opened at the end of April or early May. 

“Medical and health care forms an important part of China and Lesotho’s pragmatic cooperation. As you know, the Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic, which is a gift from the Chinese government and its people to Basotho, is nearly completed and will be handed over to the Lesotho government very soon,” Mr Kezhong said. 

“I believe that this new state-of-the-art hospital will help improve the medical services of Lesotho to a new level,” he added.   

The 200-bed hospital was realised through the donation of CNY400 million (currently equivalent to over M1.04 billion) from the Chinese government and construction started in February 2021. On completion, it is expected to help at least 400 000 people in Maseru and other districts. 

Since the hospital is being constructed under a Chinese government aid package, a Chinese construction company, Shanghai Construction Company, was commissioned to build the facility. 

Mr Kezhong further stated that the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, had proposed a China-Africa community of Health project which would for instance, see China’s Wuhan No.1 Hospital and Maseru District Hospital establishing a twinning mechanism for exchanges and cooperation. 

He said the two nations’ relations were based on equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. 

“Over the past decades, our bilateral relations have been improving steadily, with political mutual trust being enhanced, practical cooperation in various fields bearing tangible results, and cooperation in the international arena being strengthened. 

“We highly appreciate the Lesotho government’s consistent and unwavering support to the one-China principle, which is the consensus of the international community today. 

“This year is another one of harvest in China and Lesotho’s pragmatic cooperation,” he said. 

Mr Kezhong also said China was going to fund three more projects in Lesotho. 

The intended projects are the Police Fingerprint Examination Laboratory, Maseru Fire Station and Fire Engine project and the Maseru Agriculture Storage and Logistics Infrastructure hub. 

China has also assisted Lesotho with several projects, the recent being the construction of the 91km Mpiti-Sehlabathebe Road in Qacha’s Nek under a concessional loan arrangement. 

“Apart from the completion of the Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic, the 91km Mpiti to Sehlabathebe Road, which is funded by a Chinese government concessional loan, will be completed and handed over to Lesotho soon, hopefully next month (April).” 

More than 800 Basotho from government departments and the private sector had attended various short-term training courses in China last year as part of a human resource and capacity building initiative. 

“We will continue to offer government scholarships as well as short term courses to Lesotho,” he said. 

“At the moment, we are also discussing and exploring new cooperation projects in the priority sectors of Lesotho, such as agriculture, renewable energy and so on,” he said. 

For his part, Mr Mochoboroane said Lesotho had benefitted immensely from the Chinese government’s assistance programmes. He thanked the departing medical team for their dedication. They had worked and assisted Basotho, even when the local doctors had elected to go on strike. 

“To those that are leaving, the reports that I got from the Director of Clinical Services, Ministry of Health, is that this team that we are bidding farewell has done wonderfully well. 

“This is the team that worked tirelessly at the time when we had our local doctors on strike. They did not say that the local doctors are on strike so they should also stop working. No… They were dedicated, hardworking, assisting our patients regardless of the strike…… 

“The reports I received say, compared to the 16 teams that came earlier, this team has done wonderfully and exceptionally well,” he said. 

He encouraged the incoming medical team to work harder and not drop the ball. 

“To the team that will be starting the work tomorrow, you are going to start the work at a very challenging time. A challenging time when you came after a team that has done well. 

“I hope and I believe you will be able to close the gap, that you will let the graph go up instead of declining. You came at a time when there is going to be a change of place of stay. The rest of the teams have been living in Leribe at Motebang, it is this (new) team that will have to come to Maseru,” he said. 

He continued: “The challenges in Leribe are not similar to those of Maseru. The population that was served by the previous team is not the same as that you will be serving in Maseru, so brace yourselves.” 

He appreciated the fact that the Chinese government does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries. 

“As government, and on behalf of the prime minister of the government of Lesotho, I wish to extend our special appreciation for what you have done for Basotho. As government, we have been consistent in our relations and in one-China policy. 

“Very soon, the government of Lesotho will send a delegation to China, led by the Deputy Prime Minister (Nthomeng Majara), where we are going to strengthen and cement the relations between the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho and that of the People’s Republic of China,” the minister said.   

 

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