The small nation of Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world, at 24%, and the fourth highest estimated TB incidence. The TB-HIV co-infection rates are the fifth highest in the world and multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a growing challenge.

The Ministry of Finance of Lesotho recently signed two grant agreements with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria totaling $17 million. These grants will allow Lesotho to expand prevention and treatment of HIV and multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The Global Fund has also invited Lesotho as an interim applicant with US$25 million for HIV and AIDS.

The Minister of Finance, Leketekete, said that the grant agreements “will allow for greater predictability of funding and more strategic investment.”

The Tuberculosis grant will seek to address MDR/XDR-TB, TB/HIV co-infection, expand high quality TB treatment (DOTs), and engage communities in TB control.

Populations that are most at-risk will be reached through prevention interventions that include prevention messages, condom distribution, management of sexually-transmitted infections, and referrals to health facilities.

Lesotho has made great strides towards the reduction of the HIV epidemic. Incidence of new HIV infections declined by 16% between 2008 and 2011.

– Essee Oruma

Sources: allAfrica
Photo: Ezakwantu