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Friends of Lesotho - Mbeya Clinic Update
a.k.a Lesotho Health Partnership

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project. As you may be aware, the University of Virginia made a decision to delay sending nursing students to Lesotho in August due to "the political situation", which from all reports turned out to be something pretty minor. At the same time the doctor from Mbeya whithdrew from the consortium, and we've thus wound up with a bit of a misnomer since Mbeya is no longer involved. For the time being the project is being called the "Lesotho Health Partnership" - A UVA School of Nursing/School of Medicine Global Health Initiative. The revised UVA plan is to kick things off in January 2008, but with so many arrangements already made in Lesotho, Meredith Cooley, Meredith Harris and a few others decided they must get started on schedule. This smaller group traveled to Mokhotlong in August and will be reinforced by UVA in January.

UVA's partner organization in Lesotho is now GROW, a Mokhotlong based group. The collaboration was made through GROW Community Health Director M'e Mamohau Thejane.

The FOL Board of Directors authorized an allocation of half of the donations to this August segment of the project. While not technically under the auspices of UVA, the Board hopes that donors understand that it is the same project, the same people, and that fast action was necessary. The remaining donated amount has already been transferred to UVA, per the original project proposal and the revised Board authorization allowed for use of half of the funds immeditatly.

The project has also received funding from the UVA Alumni Association.

Funding is for supplies for the Community Home-based Care (CHBC) workshops, stipends for 2 translators, and stipends for the caregivers who attend the workshops. The idea is to monitor and evaluate the program and get feedback from the caregivers in order to come back in January to further address their self-identified needs as it pertains to community home-based care work.

Meredith Cooley also sends us the following:

I am back from Lesotho now and the trip was a total success! Currently, I'm visiting my family for a week and will be back at UVA around August 24th. I will put together a detailed report regarding FOL funds used in Lesotho and send it to you within the week. In the meantime, here is a brief outline of our activities and pictures are attached:
  1. Organization and facilitation of a 2-day Community Home-based Care (CHBC) workshop for 11 Community Health Workers (CHWs) from 8 different remote villages in the Mokhotlong district - the workshop was held in the Mokhotlong Camptown and 2 local translators were involved to help translate the trainings.
  2. Organization and facilitation of a 3-day CHBC workshop for 30 participants including members from the local People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) support group (Thuso E Teng) and direct caregivers including 5 PLWHA from the Correctional Facility in Mokhotlong. We collaborated with our Basotho translators and CHWs (former friends and colleagues from my Peace Corps days) to facilitate this large training.
  3. Sustainable Nutrition Project - Located in Libibing (a remote village in the Mokhotlong district). Project included working with a PLWHA support group to build two large rabbit cages in two different communities so that group members can raise rabbits to have a sustainable source of protein (from eating a portion of the rabbits), and are also able to sell a portion of their product to buy fresh fruits and veggies for a balanced diet. This project was developed after a needs assessment was completed involving PLWHA in the area. THe PLWHA reported that they already had nutrition training but were unable to meet their nutritional needs due to lack of food, thus the impetus for this sustainable nutrition project. Students lived out in the village with one of the members of the PLWHA support group to work on this project - which gave the students insight on the real life experience of a person living with HIV/AID in a remote village.
  4. Development of Toy program at the Mokhotlong Hospital Pediatric Ward.
Again, I will send a formal report ASAP. Thank you all so much for helping us with this project. I think we really made a difference and all our Basotho friends and colleagues are looking forward to our return (with more students) in January 2008.

More soon.

Planning, sharing experiences, training ...

Community outreach, role playing ...

... and the rabbitry.


If you would like to contribute to this project,
please visit the FOL donations page.