Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
PAKALITHA MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho, said that, in a world rife with challenges, the international community remained biased in addressing those challenges. Priority was given to political issues, while social and health challenges ranked last. For that reason, an old, bedridden and frail grandmother found herself having to fend for grandchildren whose parents had been decimated by a lack of medication for HIV/AIDS, and many children were deprived of their childhoods when forced to act as breadwinners for their siblings. His country remained one of those worst hit by the HIV and AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Against the backdrop of Lesotho’s commitment to the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, he said this week’s high-level meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of current measures and share ideas on how best to win the war on the disease.
In Lesotho, notable progress had been made regarding prenatal care for HIV-positive women, helping to reduce mother-to-child transmission. Progress had also been made to improve attitudes towards HIV testing, with tremendous increases in testing among both men and women. Condom use for “high risk sex” had improved somewhat among women, but had fallen slightly among men.
In further measures, in 2008, Lesotho had adopted the improved cut-off point for eligibility for antiretroviral treatment, resulting in a significant increase in coverage. Actions were also being taken to determine HIV-related morbidities, such as cancer and mental illness, and to develop appropriate responses. The National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan was being revised and updated in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS guidelines, and an initiative to “energize all prevention” activities had commenced. The HIV/TB co-infection, post-exposure prophylaxis, management of other opportunistic infections, condom programming and supplies chain management were also being addressed. A “vulnerability study” was also being conducted to define and support orphans and vulnerable children. Still, Lesotho faced challenges stemming from a lack of human resources, food insecurity, and inadequate resources. Those were not insurmountable, however, as the people of Lesotho had always, through their determination and selflessness, overcome the most daunting of challenges.