International Organization for Migration (IOM) supports Lesotho’s Health Ministry on implementing a proposed Diaspora Medical Short-term Return Programme

hospital_sarwatPretoria, 12 March 2015 – the international Organization for Migration (IOM) will support a one day dialogue, hosted by the Lesotho Ministry of Health to facilitate the ongoing initiatives towards the implementation of the proposed Diaspora Medical Short-term Return Programme. This particular discussion will focus of engaging Basotho medical professionals based in South Africa.

This comes after a series of strategic activities led by IOM in support of Lesotho, including the mapping of locations and profiles of Basotho medical professionals in the diaspora, needs assessment within the health sector in Lesotho, and dialogues to mobilize diaspora resources.

Championed by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the ministries of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Labour, with the support of IOM, this event will bring together Basotho diaspora health professionals and to agree on the modalities of the proposed sequenced short-term programme, in Maseru.

IOM Chief of Mission, Richard Ots, says IOM is proud to support such a crucial project for Lesotho. “We have a committed Migration and Health Unit through which we assist various partners to address issues related to migration. Lesotho has over the years experienced a challenge of skills shortages in the health sector which has impacted negatively on the provision of quality health services. Migration of doctors to other countries has further widened the gap, therefore it is of extreme importance that we invest resources in addressing this need for Lesotho,” Mr. Ots says.

He adds that he believes that this gathering will essentially synergize all relevant interventions from involved parties, ultimately strengthening the approach the Ministry will take to implement the proposed sequenced short-term return programme.

In addition to the discussions, the participants will be taken to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital for a tour to showcase the hospital’s state of the art facilities and equipment that facilitate the performance of highly specialized medical procedures.

“IOM is looking forward to helping bring Basotho healthcare professionals back from abroad on a temporary basis, or have them contribute to delivering virtual lectures to Lesotho’s medical school. Migrants have much to contribute, and we have been impressed with their expertise and willingness to be part of this exciting initiative”. Mr. Ots concludes.

For further information, please contact Media and Communications Focal Person – Ntokozo Mahlangu at +2712 423 9613/076 532 8295 email: nmahlangu@iom.int