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LENEPWHA receives 10 000 hygiene packages to fight Covid-19

Bataung Moeketsi

THE Lesotho Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (LENEPWHA) on Friday received a 10 000 hygiene packages donation from the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).

The consignment worth M658 000 is intended to equip LENEPWHA members and individuals living with HIV and AIDS in Lesotho to protect themselves from Covid-19.

UNAIDS facilitated the donation which was provided by Anglo-Dutch company Reckitt Benckiser (RB). The donations were handed over to LENEPWHA in Maseru on Friday.

10 members of LENEPWHA received a parcel on the day. Each package contained three bottles of Jik and nine Dettol soap bars which are expected to last three months.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, LENEPWHA executive director Maketekete Thotolo said the parcels would soon be dispatched across the country’s 10 districts.

Apart from the hygiene packages, UNAIDS also donated USD1 000 to transport the detergents to the intended beneficiaries across the country.

Approximately 340 000 Basotho are living with HIV and AIDS and about 11 000 people are infected annually. In 2018, 6 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

UNAIDS country director Jacqueline Makokha said she hoped the donations would assist elderly people who are living HIV and AIDS to protect them against Covid-19. She said there have been reports that some people living with HIV and AIDS were now shunning health facilities for fear of contracting Covid-19.

“Although there is no clear evidence that people living with HIV and AIDS are at any increased risk of contracting Covid-19, many are aging and we know that older people have a higher risk of contracting it and when they do, there are severe complications.

“Therefore, we hope that these products will reach the elderly who are living with HIV and AIDS so that they can protect themselves.

“This initiative is part of RB’s effort to fight diseases worldwide and it is part of the Fight for Access Fund they have put in place to partner with countries to improve access to health, hygiene and nutrition for all,” Ms Makokha said.

For her part, National AIDS Commission chief executive officer Keratile Thabana thanked UNAIDS and RB for the donations.

“The emergence of a pandemic like Covid-19 represents a double-challenge for people living with HIV and AIDS in this country and to us as the people managing the response.

“Hence, as the NAC, we will resume our responsibility to coordinate and partner behind closed doors to ensure that if and when it is possible that initiatives similar to that of today continue to happen,” Ms Thabana said.


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