Feature story

Lesotho HIV and health situation room brings innovation to country’s AIDS response

09 May 2018

The Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho, Monyane Moleleki, launched an innovative new tool to track progress and identify gaps in HIV and health programming in Lesotho on 8 May.

The Lesotho HIV and health situation room shows real-time service delivery data, producing a comprehensive picture and understanding of Lesotho’s HIV epidemic. It enables quick feedback on results at the national and community levels and identifies bottlenecks in access to health-care services.

“In a war situation room, that is where you plan the very survival of the people. So the situation room that we are talking about that is symbolized by this data collection, management and results-oriented tool is very apt for us, because it means the very survival of the nation of Lesotho,” said Mr Moleleki.

Latest data from the situation room show that Lesotho is close to having 200 000 people on HIV treatment. However, new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years remain high in the country and account for approximately a quarter of new HIV infections in a year.

“The launch of the Lesotho HIV and health situation room gives us access to data to shape impactful and efficient health programmes. These are the kind of innovations that will bring services to those who need them most and ensure that no one is left behind by the AIDS response,” said Michel Sidibé, the UNAIDS Executive Director.

In order to improve access to health services by the people who need them most, the situation room aims to speed up and streamline communications between policy-makers and implementers to help Lesotho stay on track to reach its national HIV and health targets.

Naomi Campbell, model, actress and activist, attended the launch with Mr Sidibé as part of a two-day fact-finding trip to the country. During the trip, Ms Campbell also visited the Queen II Hospital in Maseru, Lesotho, and met young women living with HIV and others affected by the HIV epidemic.

“I commend the Government of Lesotho and its partners for the progress made in the AIDS response. But the work is far from done. The reality is that we are not reaching adolescent girls and young women. I leave Lesotho today empowered, inspired, encouraged and determined to do all I can to highlight this critical issue,” said Ms Campbell.