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HIV/AIDS, TB under spotlight

by Sunday Express
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PM’s Spokesperson Motumi Ralejoe

PM’s Spokesperson Motumi Ralejoe

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

The Prime Minister’s (PM) Office on Friday held a workshop for 23 journalists to sensitise them about reporting on health issues.

The workshop took place in Thaba-Bosiu and put more emphasis on HIV/AIDS and TB.

In his opening address to the journalists, the PM’s spokesperson, Motumi Ralejoe, said His Majesty King Letsie III and Premier Pakalitha Mosisili were deeply concerned about the pandemics’ high prevalence.

Lesotho ranks second globally behind Swaziland, in both TB and HIV.

“Lesotho has a high prevalence of 23 percent in HIV; we rank second in both HIV/AIDS and TB in the world. This situation has deeply disturbed the King and Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s Office hopes to engage you more on this issue so that both the government and the media can speak in one language to tackle the pandemic.”

Mr Ralejoe urged the journalists “to dig deeper” when reporting on health issues.

“It is the Prime Minister’s wish that with this kind of meetings with you, the way you report about health services will bring some behavioural change in our society. For the past 30 years, it has always been reported that the total number of Basotho remains around two-million. We are not growing in number. Does this mean we are nation that is not able enough to have more babies? Or is it that we are dying in large numbers?” asked Mr Ralejoe.

Former Ministry of Health Acting Principal Secretary, Dr Piet McPherson, explained to the reporters the importance of decentralising health services to the districts.

“While you report about health services, you should also explain to the readers the importance of allocating resources from central government to districts health centres. As media practitioners, you should be the first to constructively critisise if you see the health budget allocation being directed where it will not benefit or reach out to primary health care,” Dr McPherson said.

He also highlighted the importance of having enough well-equipped and adequately supported personnel at health institutions “so that service-delivery is not compromised”.

The ex-Ministry of Health Director of Clinical Services also underscored the importance of “good leadership and governance” in service-delivery.

“We may have enough resources even in terms of human resources, but if the leadership is incapacitated, there will be no direction and progress made,” he said.

Meanwhile, also present at the workshop was the PM’s Political Advisor, Dr Fako Likoti.

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