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AIDS related deaths reduced by 66%

May 24, 2018 3 min read

MASERU - AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 66% in Lesotho since the mid-2000s due to the scale up of HIV treatment, and as a result, by the end of 2017, approximately 62% of adults living with HIV had access to lifesaving HIV treatment.

According to the UNAIDS Lesotho report, over 70% of pregnant women living with HIV have access to HIV treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, which has resulted in a 60% decline in new HIV infections among children between the ages of zero and 14 since 2000.

The latest data from the Lesotho HIV and Health situation room, on the other hand, shows that Lesotho is close to having 200,000 people on HIV treatment with new HIV infections falling by 45% between the years 2000 and 2017 due to Lesotho’s adoption of a people-centred approach in its response to ensure that no one is left behind.


The Minister of Health, Mr. Nkaku Kabi said the Lesotho HIV and Health situation room is a major step forward for Lesotho in terms of getting the evidence needed to focus interventions in the right locations and on the right population whilst also helping to deliver more efficient and timely services and improve the health of Basotho. The innovative new tool to track progress and identify gaps in HIV, TB, and maternal health programming is Lesotho and developed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNAIDS with the support of the Swedish Government also uses the data to enable the adaptation, strengthening, and focusing programmes where they are most needed.
On this note, the Ministry of Health and its partners, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (through the University Research Company) have since 2015 embarked on strengthening laboratory diagnosis and monitoring programmes to scale up and improve HIV and AIDS care and treatment services in Lesotho to attain the set targets of the National Laboratory Strategic Plan (NLSP 2013-18).
The project covers all laboratories at national, regional, district, and health centre levels and focuses on increasing access to diagnosis and monitoring services through decentralisation and scaling up of cost-effective technologies and on overall quality improvement of services, which will contribute towards improving national HIV/AIDS care and treatment services.

 


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The idea is to establish an effective laboratory referral network and sample referral system in place to ensure early entry and retention in HIV care and treatment, decentralise services, and conduct Quality Management System (QMS) assessments at point-of-care testing (POCT) facilities, while strengthening testing capacity at all levels. They also want to achieve laboratory licensing on a national basis and establish a mechanism for international accreditation.


The US, through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has since 2004 committed over M4 billion to date to the bilateral HIV response in Lesotho, according to the US Ambassador to Lesotho, Ms. Rebecca Gonzales, during the launch of the HIV and Health Situation Room.

She said current PEPFAR programme remains committed to scaling up Lesotho’s antiretroviral treatment coverage to 95% - nationally - and expand efficient and effective testing strategies and treatment modalities, especially for adolescents and men, and launch the self-testing for HIV programme. Lena

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