It was a joyous moment for the Village Health Workers (VHW) in Maryland community in the Leribe district last Wednesday when they received the medical kits and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The equipment was handed to them by Prime Minister Samuel Matekane who pleaded with the VHWs to put the equipment to good use.
Matekane said that when he was inaugurated as prime minister on October 28, last year, he promised to improve the village health workersâ€™ working conditions.
He also stated that he was informed that VHWs were not paid and promised that they would be paid monthly after they had all been registered with the Ministry of Health.
Selibe Mochoboroane, Minister of Health, made a similar promise in December last year that the ministry was working to make sure that village health workers received their salaries like civil servants.
Matekane concluded his statement by encouraging all Basotho to test for all kinds of cancer, HIV, TB, and other diseases, saying that it was better for one to know the status earlier instead of until they got sick.
Meanwhile, Mochoboroane indicated that to get the primary healthcare right, VHWs needed to be equipped with equipment, stationery, and skills, as well as being paid to keep them motivated to do â€œthe wonderful workâ€ they were already doing.
â€œI know you have been crying about not having equipment to do your work. Now the equipment is here, all of you are expected to do work and help in the prevention of diseases. Preventing diseases will help us reduce the burden at the health centres as well as the expenses we incur to treat patients,â€ he said.
The minister indicated that the equipment would be distributed to the rest of the health centers in the country even in the hard-to-reach areas.
On behalf of the VHWs, â€˜Mathabang Lekoane, said the equipment was a signal that their grievances were being dealt with.
Lekoane said all that was left was for them to get paid monthly instead of once in three months as was the case.
â€œWhen working with patients, especially those who have to take their medication every day, we sometimes have to see to it that they have eaten before taking medication, we also have to ensure that they keep clean and that means we provide them with soap for cleaning their bodies as well as washing their clothes. We provide those things from our pockets,â€ she said.
She indicated that village health work was about selflessness and being able to empathise with other people.
The medical kids contained paracetamol, vitamin A, surgical spirit, bandages, multivitamins, and other items.
The PPE included name tags, and torch lights, umbrellas, masks, aprons, and gloves.