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Doctors demand outstanding allowances



MASERU – STATE doctors say they will not work extra hours until the government pays them their outstanding allowances.

The doctors say the government owes them call allowances for the past five years. Now they say they have had enough of the government’s empty promises. They say they will not work after knock-off time, weekends and public holidays.

They say they will only attend to critical patients at odd hours in honour of their professional oath.

Dr Mojakisane Ramafikeng, the president of the Lesotho Medical Association (LMA), told thepost that the job action starts today.

“It is almost five years now that our allowances have not been paid,” Dr Ramafikeng said.
Dr Ramafikeng was quick to mention that doctors working under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) are not part of the job action.

Dr Ramafikeng said they discussed the allowance issue with the Minister of Health Selibe Mochoboroane and his team in December last year.

He said Mochoboroane pleaded with them to continue working while they work on paying their allowances.

Dr Ramafikeng said their delegation then presented the ministry’s request to the members but they refused to back down.

He said the members told them that they would not be on call until their outstanding allowances are paid.

Dr Ramafikeng said the government ignored a High Court order to pay the allowances.

“Now we do not have an option but to stop being on-call,” Dr Ramafikeng said, adding that the on-call allowance has been fixed at M600 per month since 1995.

“This was not even the law but just a practice by the government,” he said.

He said the government has however failed to pay even that paltry amount whose value had been eroded by inflation over the years.


Doctors have been working for free for the past five years, he said.

He said they are not going to let the patients die but there “will be no doctors at night”. They would still attend to accident victims and expectant mothers with complications.

“We would not let patients die. We have organised some measures through which we would save the lives of the desperate patients.”

“We have not taken an oath to work for the patients free of charge.”

Dr Ramafikeng said at their December meeting, Mochoboroane told them that he was still new in office and was yet to study some issues.

’Mamolise Falatsa, the public relations manager of the Ministry of Health, said the ministry is committed to dealing with the doctors’ grievances.

Falatsa said the Ministry of Public Service has since issued a savingram detailing how the allowances will be paid.

She also said the ministry told the doctors that their outstanding allowances would only be settled in the next Fiscal Year.

Falatsa said the doctors were asked to submit their claims so that they could be consolidated and submitted to the Finance Ministry.

“Tomorrow (Friday) should be the last day to submit the claims to the ministry,” Falatsa said.

Majara Molupe & Rethabile Raletsosa

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