The Lesotho Ministry of Health and Social Welfare launched its Family Medicine training program in January of 2008 with faculty from Boston University, the University of the Free State in South Africa and local physicians leading the training. This program is intended to recruit home many of the Basotho students studying medicine in South Africa, provide them with the training necessary to meet the health care needs of Lesotho and the motivation to improve the conditions of the health system, and provide career opportunities that will retain them. This is a central step in developing a long-term, sustainable system of care at the district level. Funding for the continued employment of faculty positions for this program after grant-funding ceases was approved by Cabinet in September 2006.
In-Service Nurse Training for Inpatient Services
The Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) worked in three hospitals in Lesotho to implement a comprehensive nursing program that included:
- developing policies and procedures for inpatient nursing care,
- building the capacity to more effectively practice these policies and procedures through in-service competency-based nursing education, and
- an emphasis on continually improving quality through management and leadership strengthening.
The policy and procedure manual was completed and approved in 2009. It is an accessible, user-friendly reference containing standards of nursing practice, and care. The LeBoHA team partnered with the Lesotho Nursing Council, the Lesotho Nursing Association, and the MOHSW to disseminate the guide to all hospitals in the country. In addition, the team implemented a competency-based curriculum that emphasized utilization of the nursing process as the framework for the application of critical thinking to all nursing procedures and activities. We also worked with the nurses to identify and introduce changes in processes that improved the delivery of nursing care. We are especially pleased with the success we have had in implementing the program and have seen the benefit the standards and curriculum have had on Lesotho’s health care system.
The Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) has partnered with the Lesotho Medical Association to identify priorities for Continuing Medical Education (CME) of physicians in Lesotho. This has included providing technical and administrative support to strengthen and expand the Lesotho Learning and Sharing Forum for physicians and other health providers. In order to bring the latest findings in health care to the health care community, we have also provided editing and publishing services to revitalize the tri-annual Lesotho Medical Association Journal, which is now being distributed to all physicians in the country.
Strengthening Community Health Services in a Nurse-Driven Health System
The Lesotho Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) is working to bring nurse education to health centers in the Leribe district of Lesotho. The nursing program aims to sustainably improve the quality of primary care, enhance the delivery of health center services, and build relationships between nurses and members of local government to foster understanding and commitment to best practices in primary care.
Nurses in community health centers receive hands-on, didactic training to improve nursing competency and care. The nurses also receive mentoring visits from LeBoHA nurse educators to support them in their work at the community center.