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Lesotho introduces fast, easy and free meds access

Ntsoaki Motaung

The government of Lesotho has partnered with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to introduce the program BonoloMeds to provide people with HIV and other chronic diseases with free, easy and fast medication.

BonoloMeds is a free service for chronic stable patients who qualify and have registered with their local nurse or doctor.

The Program Coordinator, Right to Care Makatleho Sejana indicated that the country’s health facilities are faced with overcrowding and are overburdened and in the advent of Covid-19 there is an urgent need to promote social distancing by decanting health facilities.

“As Right to Care, we have been given a mandate by USAID to support the ministry of health with achievement of our epidemic control. Our aim is actually to attain and make sustainable and maintain epidemic control through decentralizing drug delivery by implementing BonoloMeds,” she said.

“With BonoloMeds you get your medicine fast so you do not have to stand in a long queue at a busy clinic. Many patients have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV, and the only way to manage these chronic conditions is by staying on their medication. BonoloMeds can also help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as it is important to avoid places where many people gather together,” she said.

According to Sejana one can register for BonoloMeds if they have a chronic condition and their test results are within the normal range, if they adhere well to their medication, if they have a valid Lesotho Identity Document, or an Asylum Seeker Permit, or a Foreign Passport, if they are younger than 18 and do not yet have a Lesotho ID can use a birth certificate to register for BonoloMeds, as well as for verification when collecting medication, if the child is younger than 12, he or she will require a parent, guardian or proxy to collect medication on his or her behalf and adults, adolescents and children can use BonoloMeds.

Speaking on the launch event, Ian Membe the Deputy Director USAID indicated that, BonoloMeds program represents innovation and shows where the HIV program is going.

He stated that Lesotho’s HIV program is at the point where there is 98% of people who know their status and most of them are on treatment.

“Most of our services now have to go towards to those kind of services that keep people on treatment and that make it easy for people to stay on treatment,” he said.

“We know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2013 put together some guidelines where they said we should have alternative ways in which people can receive their drugs. This is especially also important when we are faced by another pandemic such as Covid-19,” he said.

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