Lesotho is a stable, multiparty democracy, completely surrounded by South Africa with a population of about 2 million. Lesotho has the third highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, about 27% of the population. The majority of these HIV-infected individuals are women and the United Nations estimates that the nationwide prevalence will rise to 36% within the next 15 years. According to the UNAIDS 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, average life expectancy in Lesotho is approximately 40 years for men and 44 years for women. Without the continued devasting effects of HIV/AIDS, the average life expectancy in Lesotho would be an estimated 70 years. This disparity clearly illuminates the alarming scope of the epidemic.
Efforts to combat the epidemic have been impeded by the nation’s lack of infrastructure. Lesotho is struggling to retain its medical staff as many physicians and nurses are drawn away to Britain, Canada, and South Africa by better pay and working conditions. The Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance has taken on this dilemma. One of the program’s major goals is attract Basotho healthcare workers back to Lesotho in the hopes of making the country better prepared to fully combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) has a long history of work in Lesotho with and for the Lesotho Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW). From 2001-2002, Boston University carried out an economic feasibility and design study for a possible new hospital to replace Lesotho’s current National Referral Hospital – Queen Elizabeth II. This engagement led to subsequent partnerships, and BUMC has had a continuous presence in Lesotho since January 2004.
Our work has focused on supporting the intent of the MOHSW Human Resources Development & Strategic Plan through professional exchanges, multi-cadre discussions on strategy, training community health workers, building capacity for individual problem solving, developing a long-term program for the introduction of specialty training in family medicine, continuing education for in-patient nurses, and health services management improvement in two of Lesotho’s ten districts. BUMC has also provided technical assistance and advice to the MOHSW and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on multiple issues, including health insurance, resource limitations and antiretrovirals, the formulation of an agreement with the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL), and research involving human subjects. BUMC, with funding from the International Finance Corporation and World Bank, has also had an ongoing major role in planning the new national referral hospital. The hospital is now under construction with opening anticipated in two to three years.
LeBoHA’s vision is to see a Basotho driven district healthcare system that meets the needs of all Basotho.
LeBoHa’s mission is to work with the Government of Lesotho and in particular the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in building the human resources for health needed to improve and sustain good quality comprehensive health care in Lesotho.
LeBoHA’s goals include:
- Developing systems and programs to recruit, train, and retain a quality health care workforce that is able to meet the needs of Lesotho, with a focus on providers delivering primary care services
- Developing management practices and policies that support continuous improvement and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of health service delivery in Lesotho
- Developing capacity for conducting systems analysis and planning that promotes efficiency, equity and sustainability in the administration of health care in Lesotho
|Strengthening District Hospitals and Health Centers in Lesotho|
|Strengthening Community Health Services|
|Baseline Study and Indicators for National Hospital|
|Technical Consultation for National Hospital|
For more information, please visit LeBoHa’s main page at the Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance.