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Stakeholders meet over AIDS

by Sunday Express
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Limpho Sello

Global Fund on Friday held a stakeholders meeting in Maseru to review the first draft of the Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS strategy Lesotho would be submitting to the international body.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, often simply called Global Fund, is a Switzerland-based organisation founded in 2002 to attract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat the aforementioned diseases.

Friday’s meeting was held in the Ministry of Health Auditorium and gave various role-players an opportunity to discuss the concept note Lesotho’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (LCCM) would be submitting to the Fund to access more aid.

The stakeholders comprised representatives from government ministries, civil society, affected populations, the private sector, faith-based organisations, and people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)—the germ which causes the Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

LCCM chairperson, Bakoena Chele told the Sunday Express that the Concept Note would help in mobilising support for the country’s TB and HIV strategic plans.

“The Concept Note is a requirement of Global Fund’s new funding model and requires that there should be country leadership and ownership on issues of resourcing for HIV and AIDS strategic plans,” Mr Chele said.

“The reason we have country representatives in this meeting today is because Global Fund says if they are not included in such dialogues, there would be no support. So their presence here is very important.”

The Ministry of Health Principal Secretary, Lefu Manyokole, told the meeting that HIV and TB remain a challenge in Lesotho. Lesotho has the second highest HIV-prevalence in the world at 23 percent—second only to Swaziland at 26 percent.

“Global Fund always encourages broader stakeholder-participation to ensure ownership, from proposal-development to grant-implementation,” Mr Manyokole said.

“Today’s meeting is important because it gives everyone an opportunity to review this draft. We are encouraged to remind ourselves of activities and services that are available at community, health-centre, district and national level and how the Concept Note can complement on-going services.

“Let us reflect on what we are doing well and the good practices that we are taking forward in this new Concept Note. Lets us also reflect on bottlenecks that are affecting our performances and how we may address them.

“It is my hope that the LCCM will submit a solid proposal that will secure funding for the country to continue with our HIV and TB programmes with a view to save the lives of our people.”

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