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Young doctor fights for licence



MASERU – A newly graduated doctor is in a nasty fight with the Lesotho Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Council (LMDPC) over his right to practice in Lesotho.
Retšelisitsoe Nkhasi, who graduated from the Xian Jiaotong University last year, told thepost that the council insists that he should undergo a two year internship in the country before practicing.
He claims he did a one-year internship in China.

Nkhasi also complains that the government is taking side with the council to bar him from working in Lesotho.
He accuses the Ministry of Health of allowing a Chinese doctor who was in the same class with him to work at Motebang Hospital without the mandatory two year internship in the country.
“They (foreign doctors) are working in the government hospital without being registered with the medical council and their credentials do not come under any form of scrutiny from the council,” Nkhasi said.
“They simply get jobs and the whole government invites them for dinner at luxurious hotels.”
“The treatment we are subjected to as Basotho willing to work for Lesotho is not satisfactory. Foreigners are having a good time while we suffer to serve our nation because of the laws that work against us Basotho children.”

Health Minister Nkaku Kabi’s response to one of Nkhasi’s Facebook posts was that he should call him or go to his office to discuss the matter. That was six months ago.
On Monday Nkhasi accused the council of cancelling his registration.
“I paid over a million Rands towards my schooling for nothing,” he complains.

“I did my internship in China but you want me to do it here?”
“I remain the youngest doctor in the country and yet you have let me experience such? I am certain that bo-’mè and bo-ntate are happy when a doctor sits home and not work for the country because foreign doctors never get such treatment,” he says.

But the council is sticking to its guns, insisting that Nkhasi should follow the rules if he wants to practice in Lesotho.
The council says Nkhasi was among the graduates who were supposed to start their internship at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) in July but did not show up.
“We still don’t know why he did not show up but he was the only one who did not avail himself for this opportunity,” says Tentenkie Limpho Mohapeloa, the Registrar at the LMDPC.
Mohapeloa says the council is following local and international regulations.

“We are trying to have the health practice in Africa as uniform as possible like many continents that have uniform regulations and terms of practice,” Mohapeloa says.
“Nkhasi has only been on internship for 35weeks (approximately 8months) and not two years as required. We are talking about the lives of people here. We cannot trust someone who has only 35 weeks of internship with Basotho’s lives.”

As for Nkhasi allegations that unqualified doctors are allowed getting hired, Mohapeloa says “Nkhasi and the general public need to be aware that the council is not the employer but the regulator”.
She says the council’s power is limited because there are no laws to enable it to “work effectively and efficiently”.
“I came here in 2011 and there was already a medical bill that had gathered dust in parliament. That bill will have all the power to help us regulate local and foreign doctors that are to work or are working in the country.”

“Right now we cannot do anything to hold the government accountable for employing unregistered doctors in government hospitals.”
Mohapeloa says she has informed the Ministry of Health, through several letters, that it has hired Cuban and Chinese doctors who are not registered with the council.
“Nkhasi can come and prove himself through the internship, if he shows outstanding skills and knowledge while in internship then through the advice of the supervisor he can hold a shorter internship. Let him prove himself.”

Dr. ‘Nyane Letsie, the ministry’s director-general, says Nkhasi should come to her office to discuss the way forward.
Letsie however says students should understand the council’s requirements before enrolling at any medical school.
She says they should check with Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) if a medical school is accredited.

Rose Moremoholo

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