Things That Make Me Mad

Yesterday, a young boy at the clinic lay paralyzed while several of the doctors struggled to keep him alive.  His tiny body was on the examining table while beeping noises filled the room.  The young boy could no longer breathe on his own. There are no child ventilators in all of Lesotho.  Why?  None of the people we spoke to really knew for sure, but most speculated that this was due to a lack of organization of those who are in charge of inventory of medical supplies.  The physicians decided to take the child to Bloemfontain, which is the town with the nearest South African hospital.  I just thought about how this boy would have surely died if he was not in the care of the doctors at our clinic.  The staff at the government hospital seems too overstretched to have ever taken the care to send the child to Bloemfontain where a simple ventilator could be obtained to save this child’s life.

There is such needless dying and suffering in this country.  And when I hear that many are dying due to carelessness or disorganization - something inside me just burns with anger.  The country always runs out of CD4 reagents…As a result, I have heard it announced repeatedly throughout my stay here that there are no CD4 counts for the week, which is crucial for monitoring HIV patients and starting them on antiretroviral treatment.  In a country where 1/4th of the population has HIV, having CD4 counts available is a necessity.  Again, there are speculations that the CD4 reagents run out not because of a lack of funding, but instead because of people who are disorganized. 

Another thing that deeply angered and frustrated me today was seeing about 20 spotless Mercedes Benzs lined up at the airport along with several beautiful black Audis and about 20 shiny Toyota Camrys…  The government here pays for these cars for their highest government officials, while the lower down government officials all get Camrys (but not to worry, starting next year all the Camrys get upgraded to Lexus cars).  It is all so wasteful…  Especially now, after the government has declared Lesotho as being in a state of emergency.  Lesotho suffered from its worst drought in 30 years – many were expected to starve to death or die from malnutrition this year.  Why is the government paying for these fancy cars and not spending it on their people who are suffering and dying from a mere lack of food?

The 500,000 rand or so spent on each of these cars could also easily be invested to send more kids to school.  There is a lack of access to higher education for too many children of Lesotho because they cannot afford to pay for high school tuitions.

Furthermore, while Queen 2 (the local government hospital) is in shambles, a beautiful new ministry building is being built right next to it.  The conditions at Queen 2 are terrible – it is overcrowded, the staff is too few, the building is too old - there are even cockroaches crawling out of the children’s beds during the summer.  There is absolutely no excuse for not making the rebuilding of Queen 2 a priority.  People are dying needlessly due to the dreadful conditions of the place.  But yet, a beautiful new ministry building is being built …and the rebuilding of Queen 2 will continue to be put off while the government officials keep driving their sparkling cars….

Views of typical homes and stores in Lesotho:

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One Response to “Things That Make Me Mad”

  1. thabo.taleng Says:

    Would like to agree with the author about the harsh reality in my beloved Lesotho - maldaministration. We do have well-read people who can take this country far but are not able to do that because of the incompetent senior government officials who can’t set their priorities straight! The government hospital issue is a sore point indeed. These greedy government officials don’t care coz they send their loved ones to private hospitals in SA! An ordinary Mosotho can’t afford to do that, not with a monthly salary of less than M1000.00.

    It is not all doom and gloom though - perhaps the author should have also shown the pictures of Basotho and businesses in Maseru and other smaller towns; the perception created here is that what you see in the pictures is indeed “typical homes and stores in Lesotho”…

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