Remarks by Ambassador Maria Brewer LePHIA 2020 Final Report Handover, September 2, 2022
Dumelang, bo ‘M’e le Bontate!
Please allow me to pay my respects to:
His Majesty King Letsie III,
Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso, our LePHIA survey patron,
The Right Honorable the Prime Minister,
Honorable members of His Majesty’s cabinet, especially the Minister of Health, Honorable Semano Sekatle,
Senior Government Officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All protocols observed.
It is my great pleasure to be here, alongside Honorable Minister Sekatle, to present the final report of the 2020 Lesotho Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment, commonly known as LePHIA 2020. I would like to highlight the valuable role played by Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate in championing this very important survey for the Mountain Kingdom.As the patron, Her Majesty was instrumental in supporting this critical assessment of the current state of the HIV epidemic in Lesotho. I thank her Majesty for her unwavering support, as part of the enduring partnership between our two nations.
Allow me also to offer my sincere gratitude to Honorable Minister Sekatle. The government’s support, through the Ministry of Health, has been the driving force in controlling the HIV epidemic in Lesotho. In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the incredible strain on the country’s health systems, you have successfully conducted this impact assessment. We are here today to release the results of that great work. Thank you to the Ministry of Health and Bureau of Statistics for all your efforts.
Alongside the CDC, PEPFAR Lesotho, ICAP at Columbia University, Lesotho’s National Reference Laboratory, district government authorities, and local health facilities, this amazing team has generated genuinely important data and analysis. Despite the significant challenges in recent years, this team forged ahead.
I also would like to offer my appreciation for every Lesotho citizen who participated in the survey. Today, each one of you should be extremely proud of what the Mountain Kingdom has achieved. Your participation in the survey made it possible for the country to assess its tremendous strides in controlling the HIV epidemic. At the preliminary data release last year, we were encouraged to learn Lesotho had exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets for 2020, achieving 90-97-92.
But I know this is just the beginning. I look forward to hearing the additional markers of success that Minister Sekatle will announce today. Together, we will use this information to ensure that the national HIV program focuses on people most in need of services.I am proud to witness firsthand the achievements of our ongoing work in the health sector – saving thousands of lives, significantly lowering the burden of HIV in Lesotho, and reducing the future costs for the response to this epidemic. The United States Government will continue to work directly with communities and partners across Lesotho to deliver quality care, accessible treatment options, and improved outcomes. Today’s report illustrates that we have made remarkable gains. We must remain energized as we work towards the next milestone – maintaining a sustainable national HIV program in Lesotho and reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets by 2025.
Allow me to once again thank Her Majesty the Queen for her extraordinary work as champion of the LePHIA survey. On behalf of the team at the U.S. Embassy in Maseru and the entire United States Government, Rea Leboha, Your Majesty! I reaffirm that the United States, as the Kingdom of Lesotho’s oldest and strongest partner, is here, alongside you, working to save more lives, and prevent future HIV infections. The United States Government will continue to provide resources and support activities that will propel the Mountain Kingdom toward epidemic control, ultimately ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat.
Allow me to close by thanking the people of Lesotho for their tremendous courage and resilience. I am grateful for the continued partnership between our two great nations.
Khotso! Pula! Nala!