World Bank Group-supported project set to transform healthcare in Lesotho
MASERU, October 21, 2011 – A state-of-the-art hospital was officially inaugurated today in Maseru by His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, bringing modern, high-quality healthcare services to about half a million people—or a quarter of Lesotho’s population—living in Maseru district, and also serving the country as a revamped national referral and teaching hospital.
The World Bank Group provided technical assistance for designing and implementing the facility as a public-private partnership that is aligned with reforms underway in Lesotho’s health sector to increase access to primary healthcare services and referral care. A grant of $6.25 million was provided through the World Bank-administered Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid to support the process.
Several new services, including intensive care, that were not provided at Maseru’s old Queen Elizabeth II hospital, are now available at the new 425-bed hospital through this innovative partnership with the private sector, one of the first of its kind in Africa.
“The new hospital and its three filter clinics are now set to revolutionize publicly-funded health service in Lesotho,” said Ritva Reinikka, Director, Human Development, Africa at the World Bank. “This transformation is supported by a unique partnership between the government and the private sector that is truly exciting as Africa looks for ways to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, especially those related to saving mothers and children and fighting HIV/AIDS.”
The new public-private partnership is managed by the Tsepong consortium, led by Netcare, a leading South African health care provider. The new facility and the associated filter clinics at Qoaling, Mabote, and Likotsi are part of the Government of Lesotho’s strategic push to improve maternal health, reduce child mortality and combat HIV/AIDS. The filter clinics began operations in April 2010 and notably have maintained a zero-mortality rating, an important achievement in a region with high maternal mortality rates.
“Across Sub-Saharan Africa, public health services are increasingly overwhelmed by growing populations and funding shortfalls,” said Jean Philipe Prosper, Director for East and Southern Africa, International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector arm. “Lesotho’s new public-private partnership in health could serve as a replicable model to boost health care provision throughout the continent.” The IFC acted as a lead transaction advisor to the Government of Lesotho for the project.
Besides setting up and operating the hospital and the clinics, the Tsepong consortium is responsible for delivering all clinical services at these facilities—including recruitment of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, and provision of all medical equipment and pharmaceuticals—in a cost-efficient manner. The project emphasizes engaging local women-owned businesses and healthcare service providers.
An independent monitor, appointed competitively, will provide regular assessment reports on Tsepong’s performance against contractual performance indicators (both for services provided and upkeep of the physical environment, including implementation of measures to control infections). The performance-based contracts have provision for penalties if targets and criteria are not met, thus ensuring accountability in the provision of vital public services.