Exploring link between SRH and HIV

pregnantBy Limpho Sello

MASERU — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) last Friday carried out a site tour to assess a project on the linkage of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) at sites around the country.

Journalists were invited to accompany UNFPA on a tour of some of the sites such as the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) clinic in Maseru and Seventh Day Adventist clinic in Maputsoe.

UNFPA, which is funded by the European Union together with the Government of Lesotho, implemented the project that will improve the capacity of national systems to guarantee stronger SRH and HIV and Aids linkages.

UNFPA’s National Programme Coordinator, Sechaba Mokhameleli, said the main aim of the tour was to identify obstacles to the efficiency and effectiveness of the linkage between SRH and HIV services and policies.

Mokhameleli said this was done in order to improve the environment and have a one-stop shop for patients in matters relating to SRH and HIV prevention, treatment and care and counselling services.

According to Mokhameleli the project was started upon realisation that unless the country joined the world in ensuring universal access to SRH and HIV prevention, it would have been difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

This is in line with a call by the African Union to have its member states act on the bi-directional linkages between SRH and HIV.

Programme Director of LPPA ‘Makatleho Mphana said when the association began as a parent planning organisation back in 1968 but has since extended to Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV and Aids upon realisation that there was a correlation between SRH and family planning.

She added that in sexual reproductive health are sexually transmitted diseases that will have to be addressed and with Planned Parenthood there must be assurance that they do not get infected and when they are infected they have to access treatment.

Mphana further said linking and integrating SHR and HIV is convenient and makes work much easier.

Meanwhile Seventh Day Adventist Nurse clinician, ‘Makhabisi Polane told the Lesotho Times that they had not always provided sexual health services, adding that they integrated SRH to their services after realising the rise in incidence of sick, pregnant women and women who are not cognisant of recommended child spacing.

The project was first piloted at the three health facilities of Mafeteng Hospital Lesotho, Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) clinic in Maseru and the Seventh Day Adventist clinic in Maputsoe.

The objective of the tour was to cover SRH and HIV linkages, practices and experiences from the service providers and clients.

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