THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday handed over a Ford Ranger 4×4 vehicle to the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) in Maseru.
The vehicle will enable LPPA to reach out to communities and provide sexual and reproductive health support and other related services. Among other services, LPPA provides family planning, sexually transmitted infections management, screening for cancers of the reproductive system, distribution of contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, pregnancy testing, post-abortion care, voluntary counselling and testing as well as management of infections.
In her remarks, LPPA Acting Chief Executive, Makatleho Mphana, lauded UNFPA for supporting their programmes since 2012, adding that they had been finding reaching rural communities difficult owing to transport constraints.
“LPPA has benefited from the support of UNFPA in the expansion of our service delivery to communities in five districts namely Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing and Butha Buthe,” she said.
“In 2013 we were able to extend services to over 40 outreach areas and spent thousands of maloti in transport hire because LPPA had no vehicles to traverse the difficult Lesotho terrain in the rural parts of the country.
“UNFPA responded in a positive way to our transport problem as today we are receiving a brand new Ford Ranger which will make our outreach work easier, and with it, we will be able to bring services closer to the community and ensure that it is used solely for its purpose.”
UNFPA Country Representative, Therese Zeba Kobeane, said they no longer bought vehicles for organisations, but made an exception with LPPA.
“LPPA has shown commitment to its work as one of the few organisations dealing directly with maternal health and sexual rights in Lesotho,” said Ms Kobeane.
“We no longer buy cars but in this case we talked to our regional director when she was here in October last year to buy LPPA one and she agreed.
“Our partnership is very strong since, together, we have managed to avail sexual health services to communities and also pioneered sexual rights initiatives for women and children.
“This vehicle reflects our commitment to reaching our goal. We hope the vehicle will be used only for its intended purpose, thus reaching more people in remote areas.”
Giving a vote of thanks, LPPA Goodwill Ambassador, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, said the association would use the vehicle for its intended purpose.
“I would like to applaud UNFPA for the commitment and it is up to us as LPPA to work hard in ensuring that we multiply our gift,” said Prince Seeiso.
“Like a good soldier, LPPA has to be ready at all times to provide services, and it is very sad that we have fallen so far behind as a country in combating HIV/AIDS and maternal death.
“By this time next year, we will assess the number of people we were able to help because of the vehicle, and I urge ‘M’e Zeba to keep an eagle eye on the car to ensure that it serves its intended purpose.”