The Kingdom of Lesotho’s health sector faces daunting challenges including battling the world’s third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate (23 percent for adults aged 15-49), low life expectancy (45 years), and an over-burdened health care system with demand consistently outstripping the state’s ability to provide vital health care services, particularly for poor people.
On June 1, a new era in health care dawned when Health and Social Welfare Minister, Mphu Ramatlapeng, handed over three publicly-run clinics in Likotsi, Qoaling and Mabote to theTs’epong Consortium, managed by one of Africa’s largest private health care providers, Netcare.
The project will replace the 100-year old Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, which continues to operate at minimal level, with a new facility that can provide quality care for patients and improved working conditions for staff.
The three semi-urban clinics have been refurbished as part of a larger US$100 million project, which is being funded by a coalition of public and commercial financiers from multiple partners, including the Development Bank of Southern Africa, private equity firms and the Government of Lesotho.
The public-private partnership (PPP) for strengthened health service delivery is a first for Sub-Saharan Africa, and taken in the context of Lesotho’s public health challenges, it is a key milestone that represents progress in the government’s effort to overhaul the health system and expand coverage to larger numbers of people.