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Test, treat programme launched at Katlehong clinic



Senate Sekotlo


A new programme to provide anti-retroviral treatment to all HIV positive people regardless of their CD4 count was launched at Katlehong AHF/LMPS Clinic yesterday.

The Test and Treat programme is being spearheaded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the Ministry of Health.

The national programme was launched by Prime Minister PakalithaMosisili at Senkatana Centre last month.

The Test and Treat programme is a strategy adopted by the Ministry of Health from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which seeks to provide antiretroviraltreatment (Art) to all HIV positive people regardless of how sick they are or their CD4 count.

The programme is taking a bold and historic stride to break the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.

The Test and Treat programme gives Lesotho an opportunity to address the most serious health crisis facing the nation by improving health outcomes of people living with HIV and act as a preventative measure for future infections.

The Minister of Police MonyaneMoleleki said the Ministry of Health has urged all health centres to start implementing the Test and Treat guidelines.

“I am, therefore, testifying that indeed Test and Treat is rolling at this facility,” Moleleki said.

“HIV is not a death sentence. Knowing your status will help alleviate the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he said.

“I am a living testimony, I have been very sick for a very long time, I even thought otherwise but I have recovered, this is simply showing that any HIV positive person can recover and live a longer time,’’ he said.

Moleleki is recovering from cancer.

He also showed that he is proud of achievements made thus far in caring for Basotho.

‘’I wish to thank the government of Lesotho for this step in the direction of saving the lives of many, and it is my hope that our health outcomes will be even more positive,” Moleleki said.

“We are anticipating to see fewer clients walking through the facilities on wheel chairs, carried by family members to the facility, fewer emergency medical evacuations to the referral hospital,’’ he said.

The Ministry of Health Director General,’NyaneLetsie, said the programme has been well checked.

‘’There are community groups formed called Batho Community Adherence to meet people half-way and with the help of Global Fund from April to August more than 200 nurses will be hired to help alleviate HIV and sicknesses,” Letsie said.

“When buying ARVs, we buy ARVs that can sustain us for six months and store rooms have been already prepared to store the ARVs,’’ she said.

Under Test and Treat, people won’t have to wait to start treatment at a certain point but after testing, infected person can kick-start their treatment programmes.

Outreach programmes to deliver services have been started in the villages for chiefs and councillors.

Lesotho hasone of the highest HIV prevalence rate of 23.4 percentin the world.

“By this launch, the Ministry of Police and Safety underwrites Lesotho’s efforts of achieving the 90-90-90 by 2020 targets as set by UNAIDS,” Moleleki said.

The 90-90-90 is an ambitious programme by the UNAIDS to combat HIV/AIDS.

The agency says by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV should know their status. It adds that 90 percent of all people with diagnosed infection will received sustained antiretroviral therapy with 90 percent of all people receiving ARVs having viral suppression.


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