NAC pledges decisive steps in renewed HIV fight



MASERU – The National AIDS Commission (NAC) pledges to take decisive and creative steps to guarantee increased access to services and support essential interventions to stop the spread of HIV, TB, and STIs as well as offer treatment, care, and support in order to carry out the Lesotho HIV Strategic Plan (LHSP) of 2023-28.  The Commission says this is meant for people living with HIV and those at risk of acquiring HIV, TB, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

According to the Commission, the critical implementation processes will include, among others, conducting district progress reviews led by District AIDS Action Committees (DACs) every quarter, which will provide an opportunity to assess and address implementation challenges at local level.

The Commission also says it will establish district-level targets to support localised responses and enable effective tracking of the HIV response at the smooth level.

These are defined in the LHSP of 2023–2028. The LHSP 2023–2028 is a guiding framework that outlines the country’s approach to achieving its vision of a Lesotho free from new infections and AIDS-related deaths. The development of the plan was informed by the country’s extensive consultations with stakeholders and guided by the country’s health policies and strategies.

HIV activist Lereko Maieane, who is looking forward to an HIV-free country, told Public Eye that important innovations in HIV prevention technologies have sparked hope in some parts of the world and that the global AIDS response can get closer to its targets for ending the pandemic, so it is time Lesotho followed suit.

He said there is a need to increase access to and affordability of the technologies while continuing to invest in new ways to prevent transmission, expand testing, and treat patients.

The LHSP also outlines a comprehensive approach to address key challenges and accelerate progress in preventing new HIV infections, integrating health services, promoting behaviour change, upholding human rights, achieving gender equality, and strengthening community systems.

It again plans to ensure health and social protection, secure HIV health products and technologies, improve human resources for health, leverage data science and innovation, sustain financing, address emergencies and disasters, and enhance leadership, advocacy, and coordination.

NAC Chief Executive, Lebohang Mothae highlighted that the development of the LHSP 2023–28 was a collaborative effort that required the participation and contributions of various stakeholders in the multi-sectoral response to HIV, TB, and STIs.

She said ending the HIV epidemic is critical for improving the health and well-being of the people of Lesotho and achieving sustainable development.

“The government is thus committed to implementing evidence-based policies and strategies that can lead to epidemic control,” Mothae added.

The plan focuses on targeted interventions for key populations, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSWs), people who inject drugs (PWID), and adolescents and young people (AYPs), utilising biomedical, behavioural, and structural strategies aligned with global prevention approaches.

Differentiated prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services will be prioritised for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), addressing social and economic barriers, community engagement, gender power imbalances, stigma, and discrimination.

Special attention will also be given to the HIV response in humanitarian and emergency settings, including developing a national contextual plan to maintain access to essential services.

In addition, leadership, advocacy, and coordination among sectors and stakeholders will be strengthened, with the National AIDS Commission (NAC) playing a central role.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *