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The Lesotho Health Partnership. A UVA School of Nursing/School of Medicine Global Health Initiative “Bathusi Ba Baklokomeli”. Meredith Cooley - Bio. B.A. in Biology and Fine Arts - University of Colorado at Boulder (1999)

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The Lesotho Health Partnership

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The Lesotho Health Partnership

A UVA School of Nursing/School of Medicine

Global Health Initiative

“Bathusi Ba Baklokomeli”

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Meredith Cooley - Bio

  • B.A. in Biology and Fine Arts - University of Colorado at Boulder (1999)

  • Peace Corps volunteer working as an HIV/AIDS Advisor in Lesotho, Africa (2004-2005)

  • Yale Language Fellow in Kenya (2006) – continued work with HIV/AIDS

  • CNL program/UVA SoN - Helene Fuld Foundation Fellow (2006-2008)

  • Team leader for the Lesotho Health Partnership Initiative

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  • Lesotho (Le-SOO-too) is a small, mountainous kingdom in southern Africa

  • Population – 2.1 million

  • 10 Districts

  • Environment – snow, freezing temps, high altitudes, rugged terrain, poor roads/ infrastructure

  • 3 major challenges facing Lesotho:

    • 1) HIV/AIDS,

    • 2) extreme poverty

    • 3) the recent food shortage

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3rd highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the world at 31%

1 in 3 individuals are infected

The healthcare system:



Under trained


Under funded

Poor infrastructure

Unable to roll out ART on a large scale

 Orphans and vulnerable children

 Stigma and discrimination

HIV/AIDS in Lesotho

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ExtremePoverty & Drought

  • Unemployment rate > 51%

  • Most people live on < $1/day

  • Currently, Lesotho is facing a major food crisis because of severe drought.

  • Over 400,000 people (a 5th of the total population) will need immediate assistance.

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The Mokhotlong District

  • Location of the LHP

  • Location of our partner organization GROW

  •  HIV/AIDS infection rate at 36%

  •  Resources, government assistance

  • Limited healthcare services

  • Hardest hit by drought, cold climates, and winter snowfalls

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Community Caregivers

  • Hospitals & Clinics are overwhelmed

  • Community caregivers are bearing the brunt of care provision.

  • Many caregivers are HIV+.

  • Caregiver burnout is high.

  • Building capacity among caregivers is the focus of LHP projects.

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The Lesotho Health Partnership Meeting the Needs of Caregivers in Mokhotlong, Lesotho

  • The Lesotho Health Partnership (LHP) is an international, community health, service learning program at the University of Virginia, SoN/SoM

  • It was developed by a team of CNL students to address the needs of caregivers in Lesotho;

  • to fulfill the clinical requirements for the CNL Community Health Nursing course;

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The Lesotho Health Partnership

  • As well as, to enable students to develop cross cultural competency;

  • and to improve communication & teamwork between the health disciplines by sending collaborative teams of nursing and medical students to participate in community health work on the front lines of a global health crisis.

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LesothoHealth Partnership

  • In July, we sent the first group of students to Lesotho (their winter).

  • We solidified our partnerships with GROW and the MOH.

  • We conducted a community needs assessment

  • and developed & implemented 7 sustainable community health projects based on our assessment findings.

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Program Objectives & July 07 Project Highlights

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To develop cross-cultural competency.

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2) To improve communication skills and teamwork between the health disciplines in order to bridge gaps in the U.S. healthcare system.

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3) To gain an understanding of the complex health crisis in Lesotho and to examine how the world is responding.Key Learning Moment: Witnessing the Brain Drain at the Mokhotlong Hospital - one doctor & 12 nurses serving a catchment area of 95,000 people

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4) To learn how to effectively work within communities, and to conduct community needs assessments.

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5) To collaborate with local health workers to develop & implement health trainings & sustainable community health projects. Training of Trainers Program.

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Highlight: Rabbitry Nutrition Project & Village Stay

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6) To share technology

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7) To capture the voices and images of the individuals we serve in Lesotho.

Photojournalist: Rob Holmes

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8) To conduct research The Psychosocial Impact of HIV/AIDS on Community Health Workers in Mokhotlong

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9) To build & maintain partnerships to ensure program sustainability.

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10) To recruit future students into the program.

  • The 2nd team of students traveled to Mokhotlong in January 08

  • They continued trainings and evaluated projects.

  • Rabbitry project = huge success.

  • Training of Trainers program = huge success. (GROW trained over 75 more caregivers since we left in July)

  • Currently a 4th yr med student is working in Lesotho.

  • The next team departs in July 2008.

  • Promoting project and programmatic sustainability.

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Why support the Lesotho Health Partnership?

Dr. Daniel Mpanga a physician from Tanzania (currently working in Lesotho) responded:

“What the UVA community needs to know is that African countries with exceedingly high rates of HIV, like my country of Tanzania and Lesotho’s neighbor, South Africa, are like overloaded ships that are in desperate trouble, but somehow they manage to stay afloat. Lesotho is different, Lesotho is a sinking ship…the world needs to act now before this ship goes down.”

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