The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is pleased to announce the expansion of its HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention programs in six districts in Lesotho. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the additional services offered through EGPAF's Strengthening Clinical Services (SCS) project reflect a programmatic shift that will bolster Lesotho's efforts to eliminate HIV and AIDS.
Based on recommendations from PEPFAR, EGPAF now offers a comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and treatment package in the districts of Mokhotlong, Butha Buthe, Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale's Hoek, and Thaba in Lesotho.
"Lesotho has lagged behind other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of reducing new HIV infections," said Appolinaire Tiam, country director of EGPAF-Lesotho. "This programmatic shift will allow us to accelerate our efforts to prevent new HIV infections and provide HIV care and treatment to those in need."
The comprehensive package of HIV services provided under the programmatic expansion include improved access to HIV testing and counseling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services, early infant diagnosis of HIV, adult and pediatric HIV care and treatment, nutrition programs, tuberculosis prevention and treatment, and health system strengthening.
EGPAF-supported district mentors and facility-level nurses will work directly with the Lesotho Ministry of Health (MOH) at the district and site level to build capacity and strengthen health systems. District mentors will provide technical assistance and offer supportive supervision to health facilities. The district teams will be supported by a team of program advisors composed of of experts in areas related to the new scope of work. In addition, EGPAF will continue to provide vehicle drivers to address logistics and transportation gaps in the six districts it supports.
Lesotho has the third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world, with 23 percent of its population currently living with HIV or AIDS. Since 2004, EGPAF has worked with the Lesotho MOH to provide comprehensive HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services.