DEPUTY Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has commended development partners for their contribution in fighting the country’s health challenges, and urged them to stay the course despite the difficult conditions they operate under.
Mr Metsing made the remarks during a tour of St Joseph’s Hospital in Roma on Thursday which is supported by international medical humanitarian-organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).The deputy premier was accompanied by Health Minister Dr ’Molotsi Monyamane and other senior government officials during Thursday’s tour.
With MSF’s assistance, St Joseph’s provides family planning services, as well as ante- and post-natal care. MSF has also initiated Serum Cryptococcal Antigen (CRAG) screening, which is a cost-effective method to prevent meningitis deaths in HIV-infected persons with a CD4 count below 100.
The hospital also has accommodation facilities for women coming from far-away districts and about to give birth. St Joseph’s further has an ambulance to transport patients to the hospital for emergency treatment, courtesy of MSF.
The organisation also trains and mentors the hospital’s staff to ensure integrated care for patients co-infected with HIV and Tuberculosis. The trained counsellors and community health workers initiate and follow up antiretroviral treatment as well as administering the CRAG screening.
Mr Metsing said government would not be able to realise its goal of ending the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, TB and high maternal deaths without the assistance of international health partners.
“We need you now more than ever. I urge you to remain in the country to help us achieve our dreams of prioritising health issues,” Mr Metsing said.
Government, he said, was also aware of the difficult conditions they were operating under.
“We know the harsh conditions you operate under, but I am glad you remain open to collaborating with government in implementing the best health practices that save the lives of our people,” Mr Metsing said.
Meanwhile, the deputy premier told the Sunday Express on the sidelines of the tour that government had resolved to prioritise health issues.
“Lesotho is currently second in the world in terms of HIV prevalence (23 percent) and has high maternal and tuberculosis mortalities. Any responsible government would prioritise health issues under such circumstances,” Mr Metsing said.
Mr Metsing further said King Letsie III and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili would “soon” engage stakeholders, among them church-leaders, civic groups, the media, government ministries, development partners, chiefs, local councils and district administrators, to ensure Lesotho turns the tide in fighting the pandemics.