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Efforts to improve HIV/AIDS response accelerated

BY : Liapeng Raliengoane

MASERU – Amongst other issues, validation of Community Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Guidance 2022 (CoMER) will help organizations to work together and avoid duplication of efforts.

These sentiments were shared at the validation meeting facilitated by the National AIDS Commission (NAC) together with stakeholders in HIV/AIDS response dubbed Community Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Guidance 2022 (CoMER) last week.

NAC Strategic Information Manager Refiloe Mpholo said they realized that many community based organizations are doing a great job on HIV/AIDS response with communities but do not report their data at a national level. So this meeting had such stakeholders to corroborate a document that will assist to eventually have a national document.  

On why CoMER, he said communities have played a crucial role in reaching people with treatment, prevention, care and support, advancing human rights and reducing gender inequalities. That communities can achieve improved health outcomes, mobilize demand for services, reach people with services difficult to reach with formal health system, support health systems strengthening, mobilize political leadership, change social attitudes and norms and create an enabling environment that promotes equal access.

He further disclosed that the objectives of CoMER are: to facilitate the collection of data from HIV and AIDS service providers. To standardize and harmonize different indicator definitions and data collection methods into one national reporting system (LOMSHA). To promote effective use of data at community level to improve the overall coverage, quality and efficiency of HIV and AIDS services.

The National AIDS Commission (NAC) Chief Executive Officer Lebohang Mothae stressed the importance of HIV response being facilitated at the community level.

She revealed that last year, after examining several reports, they realized that even though the country is doing well towards HIV/AIDS prevention and response, there are some issues that may hinder this progress, and these issues and challenges are found in communities.

She expressed that as a pinnacle to HIV response, during these recent times we are living in, in order to be successful in preventing new infections, and to reach an AIDS free Lesotho, it is important to accelerate HIV response at the community level, which is where these new infections are taking place.

Mothae said there is a great need for families, Chiefs, Pastors, community leaders and every community member to work together in fighting against child marriage, Gender Based Violence and many other challenges facing the communities which perpetuate new infections.

Moreover one of the attendees from Phelisanang Bophelong ‘Mamolemo Sekate expressed gratitude to NAC for affording the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) this opportunity. That Phelisanang Bophelong’s vision is to be a center of excellence for safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable communities, working with factory workers, prisoners and men who have sex with other men (MSM) to mention but a few.  

She said CoMER will help them as CBOs to work together and avoid duplication of efforts. And that having data will also come in handy for CBOs to coordinate their efforts at the community level.

In a nutshell, NAC Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Hlompho Motsoasele highlighted that the mandate of NAC is to provide strategic leadership and governance, efficient and effective coordination and management of National Multi-sectoral and decentralized HIV and AIDS response.

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