- Lesotho is stepping-up its efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS, making a huge turn-about and commitment of caring for the future – the country's children. US$ 10 million were made available today.
Today, government of Lesotho signed a grant agreement with Global Fund to a tune of maluti 84 million (US$ 10.6 million) for an initial two years period, solely aimed at mitigating HIV and AIDS impact amongst orphans and vulnerable children of the country.
The grant will complement efforts to improve lives of more than 60,000 children not only in care and prevention, but also in ensuring drugs are available for paediatric care.
"If we don't keep those children alive, there would be no Lesotho," Finance and Development Planning Minister Timothy Thahane told afrol News and other media present at the signing ceremony.
Mr Thahane explained that the grant was meant to change lives substantially, saying apart from addressing national priorities for vulnerable children, a significant component will be directed to expansion of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and thereby increasing number of facilities to offer services. He also said in the past government efforts have mainly been focused on adults, with children not getting same attention.
Further, this new Global Fund grant, which may be expanded to five years to a total of US$ 33 million, will also support youth education, vocational training and assist children with disabilities as well as other child-support programmes.
This is the fifth grant signed between the government of Lesotho and the Global Fund since 2003. Earlier grants have supported broader areas of prevention, care and access to treatment.
Global Fund's portfolio Manager for Lesotho, Tatjana Peterson, who signed on behalf of the fund was also optimistic of the new initiative saying it would broaden Lesotho efforts in her huge challenge to fight the scourge, especially the most vulnerable in society.
Lesotho, with a total population of 2 million, has one of the highest HIV prevalences in the world. The country launched its biggest HIV and AIDS campaign about two years ago and is leading many of its poorer nations' peers to finding a new solid stance in the fight against the deadly scourge.
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