US signs pact to help Lesotho combat HIV

NTHETHE MAPHAONG

MASERU – Lesotho and United States government representative have signed yet another pact to combat HIV in the country. The signing ceremony held at Mpilo Boutique saw the acting Minister of Development Planning Mokoto Hloaele sign on behalf of Lesotho while the US ambassador Rebecca Gonzales signed for her government in the $250 million deal today(Wednesday).

Minister Mokoto Hloaela indicated that it is a great privilege for Lesotho to have the support of the US on the long going fight against HIV/AIDs in the country. He further indicated that the signing agreement between Lesotho and American Ambassador was based on the support they had offered on combating HIV/AIDS for many years past. The epidemic has killed many Basotho, Hloaele said expressing sincere gratitude to the US Ambassador and to everybody who made the signing of the agreement possible.

Ambassador Gonzales emphasized that they were here to formalize a milestone in the productive and mutually beneficial relationship between the Government of the United States and the Kingdom of Lesotho. “We are here today to formalize a milestone agreement between the Government of the United State and the Kingdom of Lesotho, a new, five-year bilateral grant agreement called the Development Objective Agreement,” she said.

She indicated that under the bilateral agreement, the US planned to make available a grant to the tune of $250 million to combat HIV/AIDS in Lesotho from now till 2023. She also said as United States, they are committed to a partnership with Basotho people and the Government of Lesotho to support the country’s efforts to achieve its development objectives, particularly in the health sector.

She indicated that it was only few weeks ago when she launched the mobile men’s clinics and she was very optimistic that this new initiative will enable more Basotho men to access much needed health services especially in the underserved and remote areas. “With the Government of Lesotho and our implementing partnership on daily basis, we are going to ensure that all Basotho living with HIV/AIDS receive their testing, counselling, and treatment services they need to live healthy, productive lives,” she said.

She concluded by saying that they will continue to work hand in hand with the Government of Lesotho on collaboration and commitment to a fulfilling partnership against HIV/AIDS. Meanwhile Minister of Health Nkaku Kabi said that he felt honoured to witness the signing of the agreement between the Government of Lesotho and the Government of the United States on combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho. This epidemic was killing Basotho at an alarming rate and the minister thanked the US Ambassador on coming on board with Lesotho to save Basotho lives.

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