By Lefulesele Mahana
After a very long time of wrestle, Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) is considered a premier when it comes to the screening of prostate and other types of cancers in the country. LPPA is applauded for its efforts to curb the surge of cancer in Lesotho and bring the testing centers closer to the people.
Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association offer services like cancer screening, family planning, HIV/AIDS testing, TB testing as well as a men’s clinic. It uses new methods of testing cancer where prostate cancer in men is tested using blood tests. This method came after the realization that majority of men were hesitant to go to clinics for testing because of the previous anal method which they felt was too invasive. This new blood testing method has brought relief to them and they are showing up in numbers to the testing centers.
LPPA has 3 branches in the country; the central branch, the Northern and the Southern branch. The biggest challenge it faces is the shortage of volunteers, thus is to increase the members of LPPA in all districts. The lack of volunteers results from shortage of funds due to high rates of unemployment. To increase the number of volunteers, the branches plan to engage in fun walks, beauty pageants, orientation and sports activities.
Ministers of Health in collaboration with LPPA, are running a campaign called a Comprehensive Community Based Health Services, where they test people for HIV/AIDs, TB and all types of cancers. LPPA and Ministry of Health aims to provide services in all the communities throughout the country including those villages located in the outskirts and are not easily reached. Thus far the campaign has reached areas like; Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Mokhotlong, however the grail is to visit all the 10 districts in Lesotho.
The campaign is deemed a success thus far, especially the Mohale’s Hoek district because people showed up in numbers for prostate testing, eager to know their status. This was a clear indication of knowledge about the disease and will power.
The Honorable Minister Selibe Mochoboroane proclaimed his support to LPPA and services they provide to Basotho. He indicated that on his arrival the supply of medication had finished. He took it upon himself to make sure that it never runs out.
LPPA provides a safe haven for the youth, safely guiding them during their adolescent stage while educating them on how to take proper care of themselves. The biggest problem is that young people do not want to go to the clinics in fear of being spotted by their peers.
“Historically, we encountered a lot of problems when it came to the method used to test prostate cancer, but now we have about 75% of people who want to get tested. Thumbs up to LPPA for this wonderful initiative. When it comes to sexual reproductive health LPPA is seen as the champion, an organization which has left a footprint in service delivery. The biggest challenge we faced is shortage of funds, however the minister tries his outmost best to assist in every way he can for better health of the citizens of this country,” said Mr. Thabang Mosena , the LPPA president.
One of its strategic plans is to launch a new program called E- Health services. The program is entirely youth based. Young people will be educated on the importance of contraceptives, how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and many other things they need to be aware of as they age. The main sponsors of LPPA are the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Ministry of Health.