â€¦ UNFPA strengthens access across the country
Women from the Mapoteng community in Leribe district are expressing their gratitude for the increased access to contraceptives.
This development comes as part of a joint effort between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Ministry of Health, and the National Drug Service Organization (NDSO) to ensure the availability of Family Planning Commodities throughout Lesotho.
The â€œlast mile assurance processâ€ meticulously tracked the commodities from procurement to distribution across various districts.
At Mapoteng hospital, women gathered to access family planning services expressed their relief and appreciation for the availability of contraceptives, with many favouring the three-month Depo-Provera injection.
Nineteen-year-old â€˜Makhethisa Sebajoa expressed her gratitude.
â€œI have come here today because my partner is coming from South Africa very soon. Without the contraceptives, we would most likely have an unplanned child, but I want to be pregnant when I want, not by mistake,” Sebajoa said.
Similarly, Tankiso Phiri (21) shared her experience.
â€œI probably would have been pregnant again had it not been for the contraceptives. Some of my peers have had more than one unintended pregnancy,â€ Phiri said.
â€˜Matlhohonolofatso Khoaele (18), who already has one daughter, highlighted the importance of spacing pregnancies. Khoale explained: â€œIf contraceptives were not available, I would probably be having another child already, not unplanned.â€
According to UNFPA, Lesotho has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies globally, with the adolescent birth rate of 206 per 1,000 adolescent girls and young women aged 15 â€“ 19 years of age.
It has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the SADC region at 618 per 100,000 deliveries, the majority of which are adolescent girls and young women.
The collaboration between the government and UNFPA aims to bridge these gaps through a co-financed compact of over USD $754,000.
â€œIn addition to the Compact, UNFPA will provide a further $596,000 in matching funds to add to the $754,000.00. This brings the total investment to USD1,345,500 or M25,322,310,â€ UNFPA said in a statement.
The collaboration of UNFPA and the government is to ensure that women most in need, adolescent girls and young women, and women living in rural areas, are able to exercise their rights to decide freely whether and when they wish to have children and to be able to deliver safely.
Through this investment, UNFPA supports the Ministry of Health to procure implants, injectables, including the self-injection depo (Sayanna Press) and oral pills that will diversify the range of contraceptive choices available to women in the country.
The compact is a significant financial commitment by the government and through the partnership with UNFPA, it is expected that this investment will boost the implementation of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), in ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health for all and reducing maternal mortality in Lesotho.