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Lesotho restores trust with GAVI, vows improved financial management

Business

Ntsoaki Motaung

In a significant turnaround, Lesotho has regained the trust of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, following a period of mismanagement of funds, leading to a channeling of resources through development partners.

This achievement marks a pivotal moment in the country’s commitment to sound financial stewardship and accountability.

Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director of Country Programmes Delivery at GAVI, announced the reinstatement of direct disbursement of resources to Lesotho’s government, attributing the success to enhanced public financial management systems and capabilities. Maphosa commended the government’s dedication to responsive stewardship, emphasizing the importance of economic resilience, sustainability, and accountability.

Acknowledging the collaborative effort, Maphosa expressed gratitude to the GAVI team, consultants, and technical staff of the Ministry of Health and Finance for their hard work in facilitating the resumption of direct fund disbursement.

‘Mamocheko Letsepe, Director of Finance for the Ministry of Health, provided insights into the challenges faced, including the misuse of funds and lack of proper governance and oversight. She highlighted deficiencies in accountability, training, and financial management processes, which culminated in the misallocation of funds and the subsequent loss of 344,393 US Dollars.

Following these setbacks, GAVI redirected its finances through international organizations like the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). However, recognizing the need for improvement, the Ministry of Health embarked on governance, budgeting, and financial management reforms, establishing the Project Accounting Unit (PAU) and enhancing reporting mechanisms.

Accountant General ‘Malehlohonolo Mahase affirmed the repercussions of poor financial management, noting a decline in trust from funders during the years 2016 and 2017. However, she expressed optimism about the recent resurgence of trust, attributing it to improved accountability and transparency measures implemented by the government.

As Lesotho recommits to fiscal responsibility and transparency, the restoration of trust with GAVI heralds a new era of collaboration and progress in the nation’s healthcare initiatives, ensuring effective utilization of resources for the benefit of the population.

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