‘Lo­cal lead­ers key to fight dis­ease bur­den’

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

LO­CAL Gov­ern­ment and Chief­tain­ship Min­is­ter, Dr ‘ Ma­tumelo Pon­tšo Seka­tle, says Le­sotho’s health chal­lenges can only be ad­dressed through con­certed ef­forts by lo­cal lead­er­ship struc­tures.

Dr Seka­tle made the re­marks yes­ter­day in a meet­ing in which she in­tro­duced the con­sul­tants that will as­sist in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Na­tional Health Re­form Pro­gramme to lead­ers un­der her min­istry’s am­bit.

Global firm Bos­ton Con­sult­ing will pro­vide health re­form ex­per­tise while the Pit­song In­sti­tute of Im­ple­men­ta­tion Re­search will co­or­di­nate the pro­gramme.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Na­tional Health Re­form Pro­gramme seeks to en­gage for­mal and in­for­mal lead­er­ship struc­tures in fight­ing the HIV/AIDS scourge and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (TB) as well as ma­ter­nal and child mor­tal­i­ties.

The min­is­ter said lo­cal lead­er­ship struc­tures such as district ad­min­is­tra­tors, coun­cil­lors and sec­re­taries were strate­gi­cally placed to im­ple­ment the Prime Min­is­ter’s Na­tional Health Re­form Pro­gramme.

Le­sotho’s Hiv-preva­lence rate in­creased from 23 per­cent to 25 per­cent ac­cord­ing to the De­mo­graphic and Health Sur­vey re­port re­leased last month.

The King­dom is ranked first in TB in­fec­tions, with 852 peo­ple in ev­ery 100 000 said to be suf­fer­ing from the highly in­fec­tious dis­ease ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 2015 Global TB Re­port.

Dr Seka­tle said the health cri­sis had com­pelled Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to call on all the coun­try’s lead­er­ship struc­tures to join the fight.

“The prime min­is­ter has called on all of us to save Ba­sotho by fight­ing against these dis­eases. It is there­fore im­por­tant for all of us to un­der­stand our role in this na­tional health re­form pro­gramme,” she said.

“You have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to save your elec­tors by mak­ing sure they are healthy.”

The min­is­ter said the lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers should alert health prac­ti­tion­ers about Hiv-pos­i­tive peo­ple in their ar­eas who de­fault on an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment.

“The prime min­is­ter launched the Test and Treat pro­gramme, un­der which peo­ple are im­me­di­ately put on treat­ment after test­ing pos­i­tive. “How­ever, some peo­ple stop tak­ing their med­i­ca­tion once they feel bet­ter and it is your re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that peo­ple don’t de­fault.”

She added that coun­tries such as Rwanda that im­ple­mented na­tional health re­form pro­grammes suc­cess­fully fended off HIV/AIDS, TB and other dis­eases.

For his part, Pit­song In­sti­tute of Im­ple­men­ta­tion Re­search Direc­tor Mpopo Tšoele said the pro­gramme would en­sure that lead­ers at all lev­els would be ac­count­able.

“Many ef­forts have been made in this coun­try to ad­dress the health chal­lenges but have not yielded the de­sired re­sults. The prime min­is­ter is sim­ply say­ing some­one must ac­count for the need­less deaths of Ba­sotho,” Mr Tšoele said.

The pre­mier, he said, was well aware that peo­ple can­not be held ac­count­able un­less they are ca­pac­i­tated and know their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the health sec­tor.

“It is against this back­ground that the PM is in­tro­duc­ing this pro­gramme and has en­gaged con­sul­tants to train each one of us to know our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and how to dis­charge them so that we can all ac­count for our ac­tions,” said Mr Tšoele.

“It is the pre­mier’s de­sire to see ev­ery Mosotho play­ing his or her role in the health re­form pro­gramme from the PM, par­lia­ment, cabi­net, me­dia and lo­cal lead­er­ship struc­tures.”

LO­CAL Gov­ern­ment and Chief­tain­ship Min­is­ter Dr ‘Ma­tumelo Pon­tšo Seka­tle.

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