By: Mpho Shelile

On the 24 May 2024, Jhpiego organizes a march at Thetsane to raise awareness about the availability of free health services, aiming to reduce HIV infections in the country.

This event is part of Jhpiego’s broader efforts to support ministry of health in Lesotho, where the HIV prevalence remains one of the highest in the world. The march serves as a reminder to the Basotho people about the various free health services provided, including HIV testing and treatment, voluntary medical male circumcision, and other preventive measures.

Jhpiego’s initiatives in Lesotho are comprehensive, involving partnerships with local health facilities to improve the quality and reach of healthcare services. Their efforts include training healthcare workers, supporting health facility improvements, and introducing innovative HIV prevention methods.

Just before the march began Mr. Rajab Kakaire, the Technical Director at RISE, specifies that the March aim is to raise awareness about the free health services available to the public, emphasizing the importance of HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services.

Rajab expressed that the march serves as an inclusive and empowering platform that actively encourages the engagement and participation of the Basotho community, healthcare providers, and organizations. It provides a valuable opportunity for open dialogue, the exchange of crucial information, and the fostering of meaningful collaborations aimed at improving the health and well-being of all involved.  He then concludes by thanking all those who partnered with them.

Communications Advisor at Jphiego, Polo Motšoari states that despite commendable efforts by the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, the battle against this formidable virus continues. The need for comprehensive prevention, testing, and treatment services remains urgent. Against this backdrop, Jhpiego’s initiative assumes immense significance.

She also highlights that they have been actively involved in several projects which focuses on increasing the availability and uptake of new HIV prevention methods, particularly among women and men, by promoting these free services, Jhpiego aims to curb the HIV epidemic and enhance the overall health of the Basotho population.

Mrs. Polo Motšoari emphasizes that Thetsane was strategically chosen due to its dense population of residents and workers. The goal was clear, which is to remind them that Jhpiego’s essential health services are readily available and completely free. In addition to this reminder, the March campaign aimed to reinforce preventive measures such as wearing masks and practicing frequent hand washing to safeguard the community’s well-being.

Jhpiego’s march exceeded symbolism as it acts as a powerful catalyst for change. She adds that by raising awareness, dispelling misconceptions, and advocating for accessible health services, Jhpiego contributes significantly to curbing the HIV epidemic and promoting overall health among the Basotho population.

From VMMC VCA Nteboheleng Leseo details that they are not only about reducing HIV risk but also about promoting overall health and well-being. Encouraging young boys to consider circumcision can have a significant impact on public health outcomes

She adds that there are community health promoters who conduct door-to-door outreach. And they are there to provide personalized education, act as liaisons between community members and health care providers, and address individual concerns and misconceptions in the outskirts of Lesotho. 

Mr. Hareneisi Moohlo, a dedicated community member in Thetsane, expresses heartfelt gratitude toward Jhpiego. Stating that their impactful efforts have ignited crucial conversations among his friends and neighbors, prompting discussions about self-care and well-being. Inspired by Jhpiego’s commitment, Mr. Moohlo pledges to be an advocate, spreading the word and encouraging others to access the available health services.

His belief is profound that informed communities make informed choices. By fostering dialogue and empowering individuals with knowledge, Jhpiego not only improves health outcomes but also strengthens the fabric of the community. Mr. Moohlo’s dedication exemplifies the ripple effect of positive change that Jhpiego’s work inspires

Jhpiego’s march is a testament to collective resilience, compassion, and the unwavering commitment to health equity. The fight against HIV continues, but with organizations like Jhpiego leading the way, Basotho people can look forward to a healthier future—one where free health services are not just a promise but a reality.