(MENAFN – The Post) MASERU -HEALTH workers have ended their two-week long strike after the government agreed to meet some of their demands.
The agreement comes after intense negotiations that at times looked like they would end in a stalemate as each party refused to budge.
Patients suffered and some died as the parties tussled.
The agreement means that the government now has the full cooperation of health workers in the battle against Covid-19 which has infected more than 500 people and killed at least 13.
The deal is that the government will provide health workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and pay risk allowances.
On Monday Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu told a press conference that the allowances will be paid from May to October but there is a possibility that they will be extended if the Covid-19 crisis continues.
Mathibeli said some health workers will get M3 500.
Those working at government and the Christian Health Association (CHAL) facilities will receive M3 000. Support staff will get M2 000.
On PPEs the deputy prime minister said the government already has 250 000 disposable aprons, 1.2 million surgical masks and 35 000 face shields.
He said next week they will receive other equipment including sanitizers and scanners.
‘The issue of lack of PPEs will soon be answered. The government is already paying some of the health workers,’ he said.
Mathibeli said the government has also accepted the health workers’ plea for paid sick leave if they are infected.
‘We accept that plea that sick leave will be done as they wish.’
The Health Ministry, Mokhothu said, has found a special place for health workers to be treated if they fall sick.
‘We will do as we have promised without fail,’ he said.
The health professionals’ spokesman, Dr Mojakisane Ramafikeng, said they are relieved that the fight is over and they can resume work.
‘We pledge to go back to work and work hard,’ Dr Ramafikeng said.
‘We will join hands with the ministry for our welfare.’
Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo told the press conference that the government regrets the inconvenience caused by the strike.
‘We saw the inconvenience we caused Basotho when they expected to get health services,’ Maqelepo said.
‘We apologise that it happened that way and I hope that our health professionals will recover that time lost.’
Maqelepo thanked health professionals for coming on to the table for talks.
‘We ended the job with peace,’ he said.
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