His Majesty, the King,
The Right Honorable Prime Minister,
Members of The Cabinet,
Honorable Minister of Health,
Principal Secretary of Health,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is a distinct privilege to join you as the representative of the American people, who care deeply about the struggle of the Basotho in their fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. It is also my pleasure and my honor to hand over to the Lesotho Ministry of Health the first electronic-based Laboratory Information System (LIS) in Lesotho.
I am so pleased that this system is in all laboratories throughout the country, both at the national and district levels. Development and implementation of this system was a significant undertaking, led by the Ministry of Health and supported by the U.S. government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Since 2007, the American people, through PEPFAR, have provided more than $8.6 million to strengthen laboratory programs in Lesotho and $2 million to implement this Laboratory Information System. Our level of support reflects the critical importance of effective laboratories to the public health system and our commitment to improving health care services for all Basotho.
The establishment of the LIS system was made possible by the close partnership among the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, its implementing partner, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and the Ministry of Health.
The Laboratory Information System is one important piece of a broader U.S. commitment to help improve the health and welfare of the Basotho people. The American people, through our foreign assistance programs, have contributed nearly half a billion U.S. dollars to support improved health and development in Lesotho. Working in all ten districts of Lesotho, our PEPFAR team coordinates an effort involving several U.S. government agencies — Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Defense Department and the Centers for Disease Control. All of these agencies, together with other international donors, our implementing partners and the Ministry of Health, collaborate closely to help Lesotho reach the tipping point of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and make the next generation an AIDS free generation.
Today, we celebrate the implementation of the LIS project and the strong partnerships that have made it possible. I am delighted, on behalf of the U.S. government, to officially hand over the Laboratory Information System to the Government of Lesotho. It will be up to the Ministry of Health and the health care workers of Lesotho to ensure this system is maintained and fully utilized.
The United States will continue to invest in the Basotho people and work with the government of Lesotho to address the challenges brought on by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We will continue to stand firmly beside you in confronting this threat together. I want to say a special “thank you” to Mrs. Tsietso Motsoane, Director of Laboratory Services at the Ministry of Health, for her outstanding collaboration on this important project. Your hard work – and that of many of your colleagues — has made this program a reality, and your continued commitment is what will make this program an enduring success!
Khotso, Pula, Nala