of births in the hospital increased by 45% in just a year, while the proportion of mothers-to-be who died was drastically reduced. This success story could easily be extended to the entire country, and for a very affordable proportion of the existing health budget, if Lesotho were to adopt as national policy carefully planned Free Maternity Care both at health centre and hospital level, in line with recommendations from the United Nations and the World Health Assembly.
In the third quarter of 2014 we began negotiations with the Leso- tho Ministry of Health, proposing to build on our Roma success story by supporting health authorities in the district of Mohale’s Hoek. We wished to magnify our Roma experience by strengthening capacity in the last of Lesotho’s three main hospitals that does not yet benefit from strong support from an international partner.
In addition to improving the quality of maternity services in the district’s rural clinics, we also offered to upgrade the capacity of the district hospital to become a regional quality referral facility, cover all costs associated with antenatal care and deliveries, and help it to become a quality training centre for midwives in the region. Despite